rent control

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Lectures on Urban Economics by Jan K. Brueckner

affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, congestion charging, Edward Glaeser, invisible hand, market clearing, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Economic Geography, profit maximization, race to the bottom, rent control, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, urban sprawl

Instead of increasing all the way up to p', the price immediately after the demand shock rises to pc and increases no further, being limited by the rent control. Whereas the first-round increase in the housing stock was equal to m in the absence of rent control, the lower controlled price pc elicits a smaller stock increase, equal to z in figure 7.2. Without rent control, the second-round stock increase would have been a bit smaller than m (equal to a magnitude like g in figure 7.1). But with rent control, the price is still stuck at the low pc value, which leads to the same stock increase z as before, smaller than the one occurring without rent control. The upshot is that rent control slows down the construction response to the demand shock. In effect, rent control interferes with market’s signal of 2. This view of rent control is slightly unrealistic because the control is portrayed as a limit on the price per square foot rather than on the rent charged for the entire dwelling.

Among other large cities, Los Angeles has a form of rent control. Many smaller cities also control rents. Rent-control laws typically limit the rate of increase of rent for a dwelling during a tenant’s period of residence. When a new tenant moves in, the law usually allows the rent to be raised to the free-market level. But the subsequent rate of increase is again restricted as long as 138 Chapter 7 the new tenant stays in the dwelling. New buildings are often exempted from rent control.1 Rent control generates large benefits for households living in controlled dwellings, who often pay much less for housing than occupants of buildings not covered by the law. These benefits are the source of political support for rent-control laws. But despite the existence of such support, rent control generates a host of negative effects that make it unpopular among economists.

Eventually, the slow-growing housing stock reaches a size of Ĥ , at which point the rent-control law ceases to bite. In other words, when the stock size equals Ĥ , the market generates a price of pc independently of the rent control. From this point onward in the adjustment process, the path is the same as it would have been in the absence of rent control. The stock eventually reaches the same equilibrium size H 'e as it would have without rent control, and the price eventually falls to pe. But, as was noted above, it takes longer for the stock to grow up to size Ĥ than in the absence of rent control, which means that it takes longer for the market to ultimately reach the new equilibrium. This conclusion shows that the rent control is counterproductive. The problem caused by the demand shock is a housing shortage, and the solution is new construction.


pages: 850 words: 254,117

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell

affirmative action, air freight, airline deregulation, American Legislative Exchange Council, bank run, barriers to entry, big-box store, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cross-subsidies, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, informal economy, inventory management, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, late fees, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, payday loans, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty

Since rent control began there in 1979, this means that for more than two decades these laws were enforced and extended, with no serious attempt being made to measure their actual economic and social consequences, as distinguished from their political popularity. Ironically, cities with strong rent control laws, such as New York and San Francisco, tend to end up with higher average rents than cities without rent control.{62} Where such laws apply only to rents below some specified level, presumably to protect the poor, builders then have incentives to build only apartments luxurious enough to be priced above the rent-control level. Not surprisingly, this leads to higher average rents, and homelessness tends to be greater in cities with rent control—New York and San Francisco again being classic examples. One of the reasons for the political success of rent control laws is that many people accept words as indicators of reality. They believe that rent control laws actually control rents. So long as they believe that, such laws are politically viable, as are other laws that proclaim some apparently desirable goals, whether those goals end up being served or not.

While immigrants are crowded into bunks in illegal boarding houses in the slums, upper-middle-class locals pay low rents to live in good neighborhoods, often in large apartments they no longer need after their children move out.{43} Supply under Rent Control Rent control has effects on supply as well as on demand. Nine years after the end of World War II, not a single new apartment building had been built in Melbourne, Australia, because of rent control laws there which made such buildings unprofitable.{44} In Egypt, rent control was imposed in 1960. An Egyptian woman who lived through that era and wrote about it in 2006 reported: The end result was that people stopped investing in apartment buildings, and a huge shortage in rentals and housing forced many Egyptians to live in horrible conditions with several families sharing one small apartment. The effects of the harsh rent control is still felt today in Egypt. Mistakes like that can last for generations.{45} Declines in building construction have likewise followed in the wake of rent control laws elsewhere.

Not only is the supply of new apartment construction less after rent control laws are imposed, even the supply of existing housing tends to decline, as landlords provide less maintenance and repair under rent control, since the housing shortage makes it unnecessary for them to maintain the appearance of their premises in order to attract tenants. Thus housing tends to deteriorate faster under rent control and to have fewer replacements when it wears out. Studies of rent control in the United States, England, and France have found rent-controlled housing to be deteriorated far more often than non-rent-controlled housing. Typically, the rental housing stock is relatively fixed in the short run, so that a shortage occurs first because more people want more housing at the artificially low price. Later, there may be a real increase in scarcity as well, as rental units deteriorate more rapidly with reduced maintenance, while not enough new units are being built to replace them as they wear out, because new privately built housing can be unprofitable under rent control.


pages: 518 words: 170,126

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco by Chester W. Hartman, Sarah Carnochan

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, business climate, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, illegal immigration, John Markoff, Loma Prieta earthquake, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, strikebreaker, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, young professional

Quite simply, they attempted to manipulate and deceive the voters beyond what reasonable people thought fair. Calling themselves Californians for Fair Rents, the group circulated “Rent Control” petitions, a title the state’s attorney general even assigned to the initiative. (According to the breezily frank wording of the newsletter of the California Association of Realtors, one of the proposition’s sponsors, “This title may appear misleading to Realtors as the measure would in no way establish rent controls. However, the title is more likely to make getting signatures easier since the majority of state voters appear to favor some form of rent controls.”)77 But what the proposed constitutional amendment actually called for was the repeal of all existing local rent control ordinances (an estimated 800,000 California households were at that time protected by such ordinances in nineteen localities, including San Jose, Los Angeles County, Berkeley, and Santa Monica, in addition to San Francisco), and replacing them only if new construction was permanently exempt; if annual rent increases equal to the full Consumer Price Index were allowed (over and above increases to recover improvement and repair costs); if the voters themselves passed the ordinance via the initiative process (rather than passage by the local legislature); if the ordinance provided for vacancy decontrol; and if the ordinance expired after four years.

David Brigode, “A Broad Overview—the San Francisco Housing Crisis: Data, Analysis, Evaluations, and Recommendations” (Masters thesis, San Francisco State University, 1983), 30. 71. “The Case for Vacancy Decontrol,” 16. 72. Ibid., 4. 73. Corrie Anders, “Showdown on Rent Control,” San Francisco Examiner, 8 January 1984. 74. Evelyn Hsu, “Board Votes Today on Rent Control,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9 January 1984; see also Tim Redmond, “Cliffhanger Finish Expected in Tenants’ Attempt to Strengthen S.F. Rent Control,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, 4 January 1984. 75. “Feinstein Veto Upheld on Rent Control Law,” San Francisco Chronicle, 27 June 1986. 76. A review of housing activism at the state level in California may be found in Allan David Heskin, Tenants and the American Dream (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1983), 39 –65. 77. Quoted in Jerry Roberts, “Behind the Fierce Battle over Proposition 10,” San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 1980. 78.

Real estate interests raised ten times that amount, to portray the “Renters Rebate Initiative” as a thinly disguised form of the dreaded rent control. (The proposed ordinance limited rent increases so as to prevent landlords from circumventing the law’s intent via the obvious ploy of raising rents to offset the required rebate to tenants.) Using sophisticated polling and publicity techniques that were to blossom in later elections, the real estate group was able to defeat the Renters Rebate Initiative, 53 to 47 percent. A landlord leaflet quoted Supervisor Dan White to the effect that rent control “will clog the courts, put more criminals on the streets, and lead to less respect for the law.” Winning Rent Control Although failing to pass an ordinance clearly beneficial to tenants in a dominantly tenant city was discouraging, the organizers drew valuable lessons: start earlier, organize better and more widely, aim higher.


pages: 407 words: 135,242

The Streets Were Paved With Gold by Ken Auletta

British Empire, business climate, clean water, collective bargaining, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, mortgage debt, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, Parkinson's law, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, Ronald Reagan, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working-age population

A means test, she guesses, would remove 90 percent of these tenants from rent-control privileges. But the only way to get them off, she jokes, is to “shoot ’em. They go out feet first.” A lot of shooting would be required to remove all the comfortable people enjoying rent-control privileges in buildings along Central Park West and South, up and down West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, up the East Side, down lower Fifth and upper Park avenues, and across the river in Brooklyn Heights. According to Frank Kristof, vice president of the state Urban Development Corporation and a student of rent control, approximately 15 percent of the current 500,000 rent-control families could afford to pay more. That’s 75,000 families. Daniel Joy, a supporter of rent control and the city’s Commissioner of Rent and Housing Maintenance, agreed: “Whether it’s 14 or 15 percent, that’s the ball park.”

They were arteries of a new way of American life. Rent ControlRent control is metaphysical,” sighs George Sternlieb, who has studied it for years. “The subject stops all thinking.” There are many who believe it stopped construction and invited the abandonment of apartments in New York City. On November 1, 1943, every apartment in America was rent-controlled. To dampen inflation and provide housing for returning veterans, on that day the federal government put a ceiling on rents. It was a temporary act and was rescinded in 1948. For the purpose of preventing speculation and what it called unwarranted and abnormal “increases in rents and evictions during a period of housing emergency,” the State of New York passed its own stringent rent control law in 1950. Meant to be temporary, the law was administered by the Temporary State Housing Rent Commission.

The citizens of New York City pay for rent control. If rich men like Nat Sherman were not in rent-controlled apartments, perhaps more upwardly mobile black families would live on Central Park West rather than move to Scarsdale. In 1975, 1.7 million of the city’s 2.1 million rental units were subjected to some form of rent regulation (either rent control or what is called rent stabilization). If there were a means test and those in controlled apartments paid a fair rent, the Temporary Commission on City Finances concluded after long study, city real-estate tax coffers would be enriched by $100 million per year. The federal General Accounting Office has said the figure would be twice that. The Commission also calculated that since the inception of rent control landlords have subsidized tenants to the tune of $20 billion.


The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics by Rod Hill, Anthony Myatt

American ideology, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, different worldview, endogenous growth, equal pay for equal work, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, failed state, financial innovation, full employment, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, happiness index / gross national happiness, Home mortgage interest deduction, Howard Zinn, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, medical malpractice, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Singer: altruism, positional goods, prediction markets, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, publication bias, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, union organizing, working-age population, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

A third complication is that housing units are assets, the desirability of which is impacted by many other factors besides rent control: interest rates, inflation, profit opportunities elsewhere, the local real estate cycle, government housing and tax policies, and current and expected future changes in all relevant variables. In reviewing the empirical evidence on rent control, Arnott says: ‘The impact of these other factors is likely to be significantly greater than any effect due to controls. Trying to discern the effects of rent control in such a situation is akin to trying to hear a whispered conversation across a street of roaring traffic’ (1995: 112). He suggests that with the exception of New York City (which retained its first-generation controls) and perhaps Toronto (which had poorly designed second-generation controls) the effects of rent control in North America have been almost imperceptible.

Both these shifts cause prices to increase now: an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. 1.6 A government-regulated price ceiling: rent controls Governments often try to control market prices using price ceilings and price floors. Rent control (an example of a price ceiling) is an attempt to help low-income families afford the cost of accommodation. Textbooks emphasize that attempts to overrule market forces always lead to unintended effects that usually hurt the very group the government is intending to help. Figure 3.4 shows the market for apartments in Montreal assuming all apartments are identical. The going rent is $1,000 a month and 2 million units are rented. When the government imposes a rent ceiling of $800, fewer apartments are offered for rent and more demanded, causing a shortage of 400,000 rental units. The shortage is likely to get worse the longer the rent control is in effect, as apartment buildings are knocked down or converted to condominiums.

Krueger (2001: 247) tracks down this ‘typical’ study to an influential survey paper published in 1982! A third option is to omit the minimum wage application completely (e.g. Frank et al. 2005; McConnell et al. 2007). Krueger believes this reaction is unfortunate: A second complication is that the type of rent control prevalent nowadays is very different from the type assumed in textbooks – a rigid rent freeze. Controls of this sort were introduced in major US cities during the Second World War, but every city (apart from New York) had abandoned this ‘first-generation’ rent control by the early 1950s. ‘Second-generation’ rent control, first introduced in the 1970s, is significantly more flexible. For example, it commonly allows automatic rent increases geared to increasing costs, excludes luxury high-rent buildings and new buildings, restricts conversions, decontrols between tenants, and provides incentives for landlords to maintain or improve quality.


pages: 58 words: 18,747

The Rent Is Too Damn High: What to Do About It, and Why It Matters More Than You Think by Matthew Yglesias

Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, land reform, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, pets.com, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, statistical model, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, white picket fence

The larger goal of this book is to persuade you that this is a bigger deal than you realize. It is not the pet cause of a crank candidate, or a niche problem of the poor, but a devastating blow to the American economy that reduces wages, harms public health, and poisons the environment. The Trouble with Rent Control Despite his good point, McMillan’s preferred solution—strict rent control laws—is a bad idea. It’s such a bad idea that a bit of a conspiracy has developed among American opinion leaders to obscure the fact that rent control laws do, in fact, work. But even though they work, they’re a bad idea. Indeed, they work for the precise reason that they’re a bad idea. To see this, consider the idea of price controls for something more conventional, such as eggs. I like eggs. And I prefer the prices of the stuff I buy to go down rather than up.

Unlike in the case of the egg shortage, it’s not true that everyone will be inconvenienced. Those households lucky enough to be in rent-controlled apartments will pay less than the market price for their accommodations. They can either enjoy the cheap living themselves or move out and sublease the apartment on the black market for a profit. Either way, it’s good for them. The primary sufferers from the policy are the hypothetical people who haven’t been able to move to the rent-controlled city. But guess what? Those people can’t vote—they don’t even live there! McMillan’s idea, in other words, would help some people, but it’s not a systematic solution. Lowering the rent via rent control helps insiders, but for outsiders the rent will be higher than ever. If we want a comprehensive plan for what to do about the rent being so damn high, we need better solutions.

But a landlord should be willing to charge any rent that’s high enough to cover ongoing operating costs. Putting price controls on eggs immediately provokes the supermarket to reallocate space and reduce the eggs on the market—nobody wins. Putting price controls on rental apartments causes nothing in the short term but reduced profits for landlords. Somebody wins—namely, the tenants. So rent control, unlike egg control, works well. And in many ways that’s the problem. Egg control is such a fiasco that an egg control law would immediately backfire and be repealed. Rent control is more of a slow-burning problem. It exploits the fact that once an expensive building has been built, there’s no sense in un-building it, so you can curb landlord profits without taking away any housing units. But what about the future? If you take the profit out of landlording, people will build fewer new apartments, and existing landlords won’t want to invest in improving existing structures.


pages: 415 words: 119,277

Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin

1960s counterculture, big-box store, blue-collar work, corporate social responsibility, crack epidemic, creative destruction, David Brooks, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, rent control, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thorstein Veblen, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional

The current asking price for a six-story, walk-up tenement building on East Ninth Street, with sixteen apartments and two stores, is six and a half million dollars. Because of rent control there hasn’t been much interest in buying buildings like this until recently. By now, however, so many longtime tenants have died or moved away and landlords have been so aggressive at pushing other tenants out, that a lot of rents have been “decontrolled” or “destabilized.” Tenement buildings like this are a checkerboard of speculative opportunities. Only three of the sixteen apartments in this building are still rent-controlled, and six others are rent-stabilized; the remaining seven apartments’ rents have been deregulated. The difference is dramatic. Although the rent-controlled apartments all bring in less than two hundred dollars a month, rents on the destabilized units are ten times higher.

Limits on residential rents were first imposed during the housing shortage of World War II, when many landlords were accused of raising rents to unaffordable levels. Rent control, the more severe system, prohibits landlords from raising rents without making improvements, and all rent rises must be approved by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal; tenants in rent-controlled apartments cannot be removed. Rent stabilization, begun in the late 1960s, subjects rent increases to the decisions of a citywide, publicly and privately appointed board representing landlords and tenants; in practice, a stabilized rent is subject to increase every year or every other year when the lease is renewed, and, unlike tenants in rent-controlled apartments, tenants in rent-stabilized units can be removed under certain circumstances. Both types of tenants have the right to pass on their apartment to their companion or a family member.

In some apartments these bathtubs remained in the kitchen until the 1970s or 1980s because the landlord refused to make improvements on rent-controlled apartments. Even today some buildings still lack elevators. During the past few decades all of the buildings on East Ninth Street have been renovated; several façades have been modernized, and doors and window frames freshly painted. But the block still has an old-fashioned feel. Black iron fire escapes run up the fronts of buildings; low, crumbling stoops lead to the doorways. Most apartment rents are regulated, either “controlled” or “stabilized,” by New York State laws. There is no commercial rent control, but the size of the stores on East Ninth Street is too small to interest chains. The same little shops seem to remain in place for years.


Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government by Robert Higgs, Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.

Alistair Cooke, American ideology, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, creative destruction, credit crunch, declining real wages, endowment effect, fiat currency, fixed income, full employment, hiring and firing, income per capita, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, price discrimination, profit motive, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

Supreme Court on appeal. 52 The main issue was whether emergency conditions justified the exercise of otherwise unconstitutional powers by a state government. The most compelling precedents for an affirmative answer were Wilson v. New, wherein the Court had upheld the Adamson Act, and the rent-control cases of 1921, wherein the Court had sustained the postwar rent-control laws of New York and the District of Columbia because of conditions represented as constituting or growing out of emergency. The force of the rent-control decisions was uncertain, however, as Justice Holmes himself had previously said that "they went to the very verge of the law." Counsel for the state of Minnesota conceded that "in normal times and under normal conditions" the state's moratorium law would be unconstitutional. "But these," he urged, "are not normal times nor normal conditions.

Not until 1923 did the Supreme Court decide that the emergency had passed and refuse to validate a 1921 extension of the 1919 rent-control act in the District of Columbia. Chastleton Corp. v. Sinclair, 264 U.S. 543 (1924). Commenting on this decision, Edward S. Corwin wrote: "The power of the Court to take notice of an emergency is, it appears, a two-edged sword, but its anti-government edge descends only after the emergency is over." Total If'ar and the Constitution (New York: Knopf, 1947), p. 83. Fifty years. after the court ruled on Block and Marcus Brown, these decisions were employed to establish the constitutionality of a Rent Control Enabling Act when the government of Cambridge, Massachusetts, declared a "housing emergency" and imposed local rent controls. Peter Navarro, The Policy Game: How Special Interests and Ideologues Are Stealing America (New 'York: Wiley, 1984), pp. 14, 302. 83.

"[T]he complete and undivided character of the war power of the United States," said the Chief Justice in the railroad decision, "is not disputable."81 Whatever the wisdom of placing the government's emergency powers beyond effective legal challenge during the war, the selfsame powers in several instances lingered on, long after the guns had ceased firing in France. As late as the spring of 1921 the Court ruled that a rent-control ordinance that Congress had imposed in late 1919 in the District of Columbia-"its provisions were made necessary by emergencies growing out of the war""was not, in the prevailing circumstances, an unconstitutional restriction of the owner's dominion and right of contract or a taking of his property for a use not public." The ruling, which placed great emphasis on the temporariness of the disputed rent controls, seemed to the dissenters to open the door HistOTY 150 to all kinds of governmental restrictions of the private right of contract. "As a power in government," wrote Justice McKenna, "if it exist at all, it is perennial and universal. . . .


pages: 25 words: 7,179

Why Government Is the Problem by Milton Friedman

affirmative action, Bretton Woods, floating exchange rates, invisible hand, rent control, urban renewal

Charles Murray's study of these phenomena in his book Losing Ground provides persuasive evidence that these social problems owe a great deal to mistaken and misdirected governmental policies.2 Personally, I would add another misdirected governmental policy, which he does not consider, that I believe played a key role in the breakdown of social and cultural values—though by a rather indirect route—namely, military conscription. But that is an argument for a different day. Housing Another social problem is the high cost of housing and the destruction of housing. The North Bronx looks like the pictures recently coming from Yugoslavia of areas that have been shelled. There is no doubt what the cause is: rent control in the city of New York, both directly and via the government taking over many dwelling units because rent control prevented owners from keeping them up. The same results have been experienced wherever rent control has been adopted and enforced, though New York is by all odds the worst case. In addition, the proliferation all over the country of building regulations, zoning laws, and other governmental actions has raised the cost of housing drastically. A friend in California has been a building contractor since before World War II.

It has caused vastly more harm to innocent victims, including the public at large and especially the residents of the inner cities, than any good it has done for those who would choose to use the prohibited narcotics if they were legal. There would be some innocent victims (e.g., crack babies) even if drugs were legalized. But they would be far fewer, and much more could be done to reduce their number and help the remainder. Homelessness What produced the current wave of homelessness around the country, which is a disgrace and a scandal? Much of it was produced by government action. Rent control has contributed, though it has been even more damaging in other ways, as has the governmental decision to empty mental facilities and turn people out on the streets and urban renewal and public housing programs, which together have destroyed far more housing units than they have built and let many public housing units become breeding grounds for crime and viciousness. Family Values Government alone has not been responsible for the extraordinary collapse that has occurred in family values and the resulting explosion in the number of teenage pregnancies, illegitimate births, and one-parent families.


Hollow City by Rebecca Solnit, Susan Schwartzenberg

blue-collar work, Brownian motion, dematerialisation, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Loma Prieta earthquake, low skilled workers, new economy, New Urbanism, pets.com, rent control, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, wage slave

the development of high-rises downtown with of white-collar workers seeking housing in the managers began to discover the pleasures of commuting), housing prices began to activists managed Though it to the concomitant influx city. urban As professionals and life (and the horrors of escalate. In the early 1980s, tenant win passage of citywide residential rent control. has significant problems, notably the lack of vacancy control, rent control has done much to preserve affordable housing for those who arrived and stayed before the current rental-rate explosion. (Rent control is why I can afford to write this book.) Other activists came together in the early 1980s to protect the residential hotels of the Tenderloin fi-om being destroyed or converted into tourist hotels; attorney-activist Randy Shaw, who was one of the principals in that battle, declares from his desk the Tenderloin Housing Clinic that this housing stock protected.

Yet another significant victory which put a number of limits is at permanently was Proposition M in 1986, on downtown growth, required office buildings to ameliorate their impact with contributions to transit, lowcost housing and other necessities for the city, and made it policy to pro- THE SHOPPING CART AND THE LEXUS tect industrial districts, hood businesses, 57 neighbor- neighborhood character, historic buildings and other elements of a diversified, Rent control and civilized city. Proposition M represent an era when activists to set housing and development took the initiative than just fighting policy, rather rearguard actions against market forces and policies set by others. The poor continued as well as to the to arrive, be driven out. But economic situation had perChief counsel Tony Kline discussing the manently changed.

stituted "Never who is, this chapter, fittingly Supervisor Amos Brown evicted an enough, named Love, along with her gay has cerebral palsy, and infant grandson. appointed by Willie Brown (no relation), is Amos Brown, who was an African- American minister MARKS ON THE SOCIAL CONTRACT SKID 131 who has been more hostile to the homeless than any other elected official and who is calling for a study of rent control that is widely suspected to be the first step in dismantling tenant-protection laws. The eviction of Edith Love fi-om the modest Ingleside house Brown owned allegedly took place so that he could run for election in that district rather than against erful Supervisor Mabel Teng, who lives in the (wealthier) district pow- where Brown currently resides. With help fi-om a homeless organization she contacted, Love found new a place to her deposit and other acts that She sary.


pages: 242 words: 60,595

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, Bruce Patton

cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, rent control, sealed-bid auction, transaction costs, zero-sum game

It helps to have stock phrases like "It's not a question of trust" to turn aside ploys like Mrs. Jones's plea for trust. "Could I ask you a few questions to see whether my facts are right?" TURNBULL: Could I ask you a few questions to see whether the facts I've been given are right? Is the apartment really under rent control? Is the legal maximum rent really $233? Paul asked me whether this makes us parties to a violation of law. Did someone inform Paul at the time he signed the lease that the apartment was under rent control, and that the legal maximum was $67 lower than the rent he agreed to? Analysis. Statements of fact can be threatening. Whenever you can, ask a question instead. Turnbull might have declared, "The legal rent is $233. You broke the law. What's worse, you involved us in breaking the law without telling us so."

This flattering assumption leads the other side to search for reasons even if there are none, thus keeping the negotiation on the basis of principle. "Let me see if I understand what you're saying" TURNBULL: Let me see if I understand what you're saying, Mrs. Jones. If I've understood you correctly, you think the rent we paid is fair because you made a lot of repairs and improve-ments to the apartment since the last rent control evaluation. It wasn't worth your while to ask the Rent Control Board for an increase for the few months you rented the place to us. In fact, you rented it only as a favor to Paul. And now you're concerned that we may take unfair advantage of you and try to get money from you as the price for moving out. Is there something I've missed or misunderstood? Analysis. Principled negotiation requires good communication. Before responding to Mrs.

Getting them to play: The case of Jones Realty and Frank Turnbullyou a feel for how you might deal with a party who is reluctant to engage in principled The following real-life example of a negotiation between a landlord and tenant should give negotiation. It illustrates what it means to change the game by starting to play a new one. The case in brief. Frank Turnbull rented an apartment in March from Jones Realty for $300 a month. In July, when he and his roommate, Paul, wanted to move out, Turnbull learned that the apartment was under rent control. The maximum legal rent was $233 a month — $67 less than he had been paying. Disturbed that he had been overcharged, Turnbull called on Mrs. Jones of Jones Realty to discuss the problem. At first, Mrs. Jones was unreceptive and hostile. She claimed to be right and accused Turnbull of ingratitude and blackmail. After several long negotiating sessions, however, Mrs. Jones agreed to reimburse Turnbull and his roommate.


pages: 346 words: 90,371

Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing by Josh Ryan-Collins, Toby Lloyd, Laurie Macfarlane

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, deindustrialization, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, garden city movement, George Akerlof, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, money market fund, mortgage debt, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, place-making, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, working poor, working-age population

In response to this, the government passed the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (War Restrictions) Act 1915 which restricted rent increases for private tenants and froze the rate of interest that landlords paid on their mortgages. These new rent controls were originally intended as a temporary measure due to expire six months after the end of the war. However, they were repeatedly extended in response to the continued shortage of housing (Kemp, 2002). In a democracy with many more renters than landlords the political appeal of rent control as a means of tackling the problem of rent is obvious, especially as it is a solution that seemingly costs the state nothing. Rent controls of some form endured in Britain for much of the twentieth century, until private rents were fully deregulated in January 1989. The evidence on the effectiveness of these rent controls is mixed, and today many economists oppose rent controls on the grounds that they create shortages in the rental housing market, and reduce the quality of the stock by discouraging private investment (Jenkins, 2009; Heath, 2014).

This mixed economy in both housing supply and tenure was supported by strict financial regulations which restricted the amount of credit that could flow into the private housing market (see Chapter 5), and a tax regime designed to balance the economic position of homeowners and renters. Between them, these measures constituted the most comprehensive attempt yet to address the problem of rent. Taxes, financial regulations and rent controls prevented property owners from extracting excessive rents, while state intervention in the land market and council house building reduced market volatility and provided low-cost alternatives. But some of these critical mechanisms of the Keynesian land economy had already been undermined towards the end of this period. Firstly, a number of changes to taxation shifted incentives dramatically in favour of homeownership.

Monetarists believe that the objectives of monetary policy are best met by targeting the growth rate of the money supply, and assert that other forms of government intervention can often destabilise the economy rather than help it. Monetarist economists typically believe that the provision of housing should be left to the private sector and oppose government interventions such as social housing, subsidies and rent controls. Although generally supporting minimal taxation, monetarists favour property taxes on the basis that they are the least distortionary taxes. Milton Friedman famously supported the taxation of land as advocated by Henry George on the basis that it was the ‘least bad tax’. Although monetarism gained influence in the UK and the USA in the late 1970s as both countries battled high inflation, within a few years monetarism had fallen out of favour with economists as the link between different measures of money supply and inflation proved to be less clear than monetarist theories had suggested.


pages: 298 words: 95,668

Milton Friedman: A Biography by Lanny Ebenstein

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, stem cell, The Chicago School, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, zero-sum game

It contains much statistical data, with many charts of information. It is a predecessor in style, though on a lesser scale, of Friedman’s later great work affiliated with the National Bureau, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. During the year at Minnesota, Friedman and Stigler coauthored a pamphlet on rent control for the New York–based libertarian Foundation for Economic Education, titled “Roofs or Ceilings?” The pamphlet was a polemic against rent control, which had emerged as a wartime measure. Friedman and Stigler argued that rent control leads to fewer rental units, lower-quality rental units, greater nonprice discrimination, and inefficient use of rental units. If controls were eliminated, the shortage of housing that developed during the war as resources were directed to other purposes would quickly end. The pamphlet was attacked by academics and commentators who found its arguments inconsistent with the pro-government and pro-intervention tenor of the times.

According to the economic historian William Frazer, “Recalling Friedman’s Chicago year 1934–35 with Henry Schultz, Martin Bronfenbrenner [another Chicago student of the era] remembered Friedman mainly as a statistician rather than an economist, and Abba Lerner . . . recalled Friedman as being non-political in 1937.”12 According to Leonard Silk, who has also written on Friedman, early in his career Friedman seemed “more eager to be known as a first-class technician and objective social scientist than as a political crusader.”13 Paul Samuelson remembers Friedman as a grad student as “not primarily a macroeconomist. Just a really smart guy ready to be into anything,” noting that Friedman’s Chicago teachers were “macroeconomists.”14 Friedman expressed these views as late as a 1946 pamphlet with George Stigler opposing rent control: “For those, like us, who would like even more equality than there is at present . . . , it is surely better to attack directly existing inequalities in income and wealth at their source than to ration each of the hundreds of commodities and services that compose our standard of living.”15 In a 1948 article, Friedman wrote that among his long-run objectives was “substantial equality of economic power....

The pamphlet was attacked by academics and commentators who found its arguments inconsistent with the pro-government and pro-intervention tenor of the times. “Roofs or Ceilings?” “outraged the profession,” according to Paul Samuelson. “That shows you where we were in our mentality in the immediate postwar period.”5 Robert Bangs wrote in the American Economic Review: “Removal of rent controls would not solve the housing problem, but it could easily contribute to a worsening inequality.”6 Half a million copies of the pamphlet were circulated by the National Association of Real Estate Boards, and it has been republished many times since. Through 1945, Friedman was closer, geographically and in spirit, to the New York area than to Chicago. Rose remarks that they had “many friends in New York and led an active social life” there.


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How to Kill a City: The Real Story of Gentrification by Peter Moskowitz

affirmative action, Airbnb, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, drive until you qualify, East Village, Edward Glaeser, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Silicon Valley, starchitect, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional

That long and unique history of progressivism has also given San Francisco one of the strongest tenant activism movements in the country. After years of pressure, in 1979 the city’s Board of Supervisors approved a rent control bill that pegged rent increases in any apartment built before 1979 to yearly inflation. The bill also made it relatively hard to evict tenants in the city. There are some exceptions: if you live in a single-family home, which many San Franciscans do, you’re not protected, and if you live in a place built after 1979, you’re not eligible for rent control. Still, the city’s rent control ordinance is more stringent than probably anywhere else in the country. The fact that evictions are at record highs despite those laws shows just how valuable the land is. A report from Board of Supervisors member David Campos found there were 2,120 notices of evictions filed between February 2014 and February 2015—55 percent more than five years prior.

They began looking farther and farther afield until they realized it might not be worth it: between their jobs at opposite ends of Silicon Valley and the housing prices, moving out of the area entirely began to seem more appealing. Rios told me she’s planning on moving her kids to Nevada or Chicago. Her husband will stay behind until they settle into a new life, and then he will come to look for work. Because Mountain View does not have rent control laws, Rios’s eviction-by-rent increase will not be recorded on any official forms. It will not register in any future statistics about the Bay Area. Without such data, it’s hard to paint an accurate picture of the extent of the crisis. Most of what we know comes from census data and anecdotal stories. And that makes it harder to fight back against gentrification. With rents so high, housing has become precarious not only for low-wage workers but also for police officers, lawyers, and those in other middle-class professions that once bought you a relatively stable life.

In total, under the Bloomberg administration, more than 40 percent of the city was rezoned. “The Bloomberg administration was kind enough to rezone most of Brooklyn, and enable developers to do large scale development,” one real estate developer told a local news publication in 2015. “And in turn, people come to create life, to create families, to work and to do everything that we’re doing.” With no one putting the brakes on the system—with no new rent control, no Works Progress Administration–era levels of new affordable housing—the process propels itself into illogical loops: parts of Brooklyn have become more expensive than lower Manhattan, and the borough has become the least affordable housing market in the entire United States. The new, progressive mayor of New York who won in a landslide with promises of affordable housing has now promised to rezone large sections of previously affordable neighborhoods such as East New York, with the caveat that some of the apartments there will be made affordable.


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Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns

anti-communist, bank run, barriers to entry, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, creative destruction, desegregation, feminist movement, financial independence, George Gilder, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, lone genius, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, union organizing, urban renewal, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

was written as Friedman, then a new faculty member at Minnesota, was moving away from a position he characterized as “thoroughly Keynesian” to his later libertarianism. Friedman had long opposed rent control for its inefficiencies. He and Stigler argued that by interfering with the free working of the market, rent control removed incentives to create more housing stock, improve existing units, or share housing. Therefore it created, rather than alleviated, the housing shortage. They did not question the underlying motivation for rent control, even identifying themselves as people “who would like even more equality than there is at present.”44 The problem with rent control was simply that it did not achieve its stated policy objectives. This dispassionate tone infuriated Rand, who saw Roofs or Ceilings? through the lenses of her experience in Communist Russia.

Otherwise, if the very motive of capitalism was “declared to be immoral, the whole system becomes immoral, and the motor of the system stops dead.”42 It was the same criticism she had made of Hayek: a partial case for the free market was worse than no argument at all. Read was naturally more cautious. Like Rand he believed that government functions such as rent control, public education, the Interstate Commerce Commission, military training, and the Post Office should all be done by “voluntary action.” But he told her, “I had luncheon last week with the chief executive of the country’s largest utility holding Corp. and a financial editor of the Journal American. They are regarded as reactionaries, yet each of these gents, while being [against] price controls generally, suffered rent control. This is typical.” With an eye to public perception, Read had chosen the FEE’s rather bland name rather than use the inflammatory word “individualism,” as Rand had urged.43 Although Rand was generally pleased with Read’s efforts, she could see nothing but apostasy where others saw necessary compromises with political and economic realities.

“Do you really think that calling the free pricing system a ‘rationing’ system is merely confusing and innocuous?” she asked in an angry letter to Mullendore, a FEE trustee. She believed the authors were trying to make the word “respectable” and thus convince Americans to accept permanent and total rationing. Focusing entirely on the hidden implications of the pamphlet, Rand saw the authors’ overt argument against rent control as “mere window dressing, weak, ineffectual, inconclusive and unconvincing.” Rand believed that Friedman and Stigler were insincere in their argument against rent control because they failed to invoke any moral principles to support their case. And when they did mention morality, it was to speak favorably of equality and humanitarianism. She fumed to Mullendore, “Not one word about the inalienable right of landlords and property owners . . . not one word about any kind of principles.


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Big Capital: Who Is London For? by Anna Minton

Airbnb, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, land value tax, market design, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, quantitative easing, rent control, Right to Buy, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban renewal, working poor

Labbad, Dan, ‘Smart urban regeneration projects put people and partnerships first’, paid content, Guardian, 4 July 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/lendlease-redesigning-cities-zone/2016/jul/04/smart-urban-regeneration-projects-put-people-and-partnerships-first 12. ‘Community is king: how new London villages can help solve the housing crisis’, Berkeley Group Press Release, 22 July 2016, https://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/press-releases/2016/how-new-london-villages-can-help-solve-the-housing-crisis 13. Carson, James, ‘Rent controls: lessons from Berlin’, The Knowledge Exchange blog, 6 May 2016, https://theknowledgeexchangeblog.com/2016/05/06/rent-controls-lessons-from-berlin/ 14. Chazan, Guy, ‘Germany: Berlin’s war on gentrification’, Financial Times, 10 October 2016 15. ‘Land Value Taxation’, House of Commons Library, 17 November 2014 Acknowledgements My first thanks go to the 1851 Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition, which awarded me a two-year fellowship in the Built Environment in 2011, to enable me to continue my research and write a second book, to follow Ground Control.

Housing associations are also known as Registered Social Landlords, and in the 1990s, council housing underwent its first major linguistic change and became known as ‘social housing’. With their roots in the Victorian charitable and voluntary sector and represented by organizations such as the philanthropic Peabody Trust, housing associations were in a tradition of social provision that appealed to Conservative thinking. The Thatcher government also abolished rent controls, which had been in place since 1915, deregulated the private rented sector and created the framework for the introduction of Buy to Let, all of which contribute to today’s housing crisis. These policies began with the Conservatives but only really got going under Tony Blair’s New Labour government. When New Labour swept to power in 1997 the government rolled out its ‘Decent Homes’ agenda, aimed at transferring 200,000 homes a year to housing associations, pledging investment and refurbishment as a condition of transfer.

Overall, American institutional investors own around half a million family homes.29 This may sound a small figure, but as rental property becomes a major new asset class, especially if property prices fall and mortgage credit dries up – not unlikely in London – these are trends we are very possibly to see much more of. Blackstone and other Global Corporate Landlords, such as Goldman Sachs, have been the focus of international protests, culminating in a series of global days of action, under the banner of #StopBlackstone Our Homes Are not a Commodity.30 The anger was caused by the sale of almost 5,000 rent-controlled apartments in Madrid to Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, accompanied by the by now familiar broken promises that rents would remain the same. Instead, as old contracts expired, people were told rents would increase dramatically and were threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity. One mother described how her rent went up from €58 to €436, which was taken out of her bank account without her knowledge.31 London has not yet witnessed the same property market collapse which made these such good deals for Global Corporate Landlords but, as for other UK towns and cities, a full-scale crash remains a possibility and the capital’s rental market is poised to become an increasingly attractive asset class to institutional investors given the government’s indication of more support for Build to Rent.


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Anarchy State and Utopia by Robert Nozick

distributed generation, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, means of production, Menlo Park, moral hazard, night-watchman state, Norman Mailer, Pareto efficiency, price discrimination, prisoner's dilemma, rent control, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, school vouchers, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Yogi Berra

I am better off under such an arrangement than under the rent-control laws without the subletting provision. It gives me an extra option, though it doesn’t force me to use it. You are better off, since you get the apartment for $200, which you’re willing to pay, whereas you wouldn’t get it under the rent-control law with no subletting provision. (Perhaps, during the period of your lease, you may sublet it to yet another person.) The owner of the building is not worse off, since he receives $1,200 per year for the apartment in either case. Rent-control laws with subletting provisions allow people to improve their position via voluntary exchange; they are superior to rent-control laws without such provisions, and if the latter is better than no rent control at all, then a fortiori so is rent control with subletting allowed. So why do people find the subletting-allowed system unacceptable?

The example of the loaned bus also serves against another principle sometimes put forth: that enjoyment and use and occupancy of something over a period of time gives one a title or right over it. Some such principle presumably underlies rent-control laws, which give someone living in an apartment a right to live in it at (close to) a particular rent, even though the market price of the apartment has increased greatly. In a spirit of amity, I might point out to supporters of rent-control laws an even more efficient alternative, utilizing market mechanisms. A defect of rent-control laws is that they are inefficient; in particular they misallocate apartments. Suppose I am living in an apartment for some period of time at a rent of $100 per month, and the market price goes up to $200. Under the rent-control law, I will sit tight in the apartment at $100 per month. But it might be that you are willing to pay $200 per month for the apartment; furthermore, it might well be that I would prefer giving up the apartment if I could receive $200 a month for it.

Rent-control laws with subletting provisions allow people to improve their position via voluntary exchange; they are superior to rent-control laws without such provisions, and if the latter is better than no rent control at all, then a fortiori so is rent control with subletting allowed. So why do people find the subletting-allowed system unacceptable?bz Its defect is that it makes explicit the partial expropriation of the owner. Why should the renter of the apartment get the extra money upon the apartment’s being sublet, rather than the owner of the building? It is easier to ignore the question of why he should get the subsidy given him by the rent-control law, rather than this value’s going to the owner of the building. THE NONNEUTRAL STATE Since inequalities in economic position often have led to inequalities in political power, may not greater economic equality (and a more extensive state as a means of achieving it) be needed and justified in order to avoid the political inequalities with which economic inequalities are often correlated? Economically well-off persons desire greater political power, in a nonminimal state, because they can use this power to give themselves differential economic benefits.


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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener

autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, basic income, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Extropian, future of work, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, means of production, medical residency, new economy, New Urbanism, passive income, pull request, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, union organizing, universal basic income, unpaid internship, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

They had no body fat. They had no art in the apartment, either. On the refrigerator was an impressive collection of novelty magnets arranged in a perfect grid. The apartment was gigantic, a duplex with two living rooms and a view of the bay. Both roommates claimed they wanted to live independently but couldn’t abandon the rent control. With a combined household income that easily topped four hundred thousand dollars—not including the product manager’s stock—we were not people for whom rent control was intended, but there we were. When I signed a sublease in exchange for the keys, my new roommates congratulated me on my good luck. I got along better with the product manager, though we occupied different spaces: I was in the startup world, land of perpetual youth, and she was an adult like any other, navigating a corporation, acting the part, negotiating for her place.

The agents pitched proximity to the freeways, and inserted maps of the tech shuttle routes, color-coded by company. Coveted location, the brochures read. Fabulous investment property with no rent control. I stood on the steps of my apartment building, looking at the agents’ headshots and thinking about bleaching my teeth. San Francisco had tipped into a full-blown housing crisis. Whenever the media reported that a new tech company had filed an S-1 with the SEC, people started comparing notes on tenants’ rights. Buy a house before the next IPO, my coworkers joked. It wasn’t a joke because it was funny; it was a joke because the overnight-wealthy were bidding 60 percent over asking on million-dollar starter homes, and paying in cash. Four of the six apartments in my rent-controlled building were occupied by middle-aged couples, some of whom had been there since at least the last boom; they were familiar with the rhetoric of community and revolution, had heard it all before.

They pursued authenticity without realizing that the most authentic thing about the city was, at this moment in time, them. The city’s passive-aggressive, progressive, permissive politics tended to rankle transplants, but tech’s self-appointed representatives weren’t for everyone, either. Every three months a different engineer or aspiring entrepreneur, new to the city, would post a screed on a blogging platform with no revenue model. He would excoriate the poor for clinging to rent control and driving up condo prices, or excoriate the tent cities by the freeway for being an eyesore. He would suggest monetizing homeless people by turning them into Wi-Fi hotspots. He would lambaste the weak local sports teams, the abundance of bicyclists, the fog. Like a woman who is constantly PMSing, a twenty-three-year-old founder of a crowdfunding platform wrote about the climate. The extension of casual misogyny to weather was creative, but the digital ambassadors didn’t seem to like actual women, either: they whined that the women in San Francisco were fives, not tens, and whined that there weren’t enough of them.


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Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of work, game design, global village, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, race to the bottom, rent control, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, telemarketer, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban planning, web application, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

Only the District of Columbia and a few cities in four states—California, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey—have rent control or stabilization laws. These laws limit how much and when rent can be raised and create a rent control board that, among other things, decides the maximum Conclusion 167 amount a landlord can charge for rental units and conditions under which a tenant can be evicted. Rent control and rent stabilization protect individuals and communities in times of rapid economic change, guarding long-time and low-income residents against displacement during speculative real estate booms. Most small cities, like Troy, lack rent control, and are thus especially vulnerable to rapid gentrification. Like rent control, community benefits agreements (CBAs) protect existing residents in times of volatile economic change.

In our interview in 2003, she told me that her favorite part of WYMSM was the feeling that “There was no limit to what we could do as a group, if we put in the work. In my life, I’ve always felt restricted and limited in the things I thought I could do. But I learned by being in WYMSM that I can do anything.” Zianaveva was the first to point out that YW residents were increasingly unable to find independent housing in Troy because the economic changes of the early 2000s were forcing poor and working-class people out of the area. She argued, “Rent control is a big thing. These private owners are hiking up their rents. The working class and the poor are going to suffer because they can’t afford it. We need to give landlords an incentive to not jump on the bandwagon and hike up their rents.” Ironically, after WYMSM disbanded, Zianaveva was one of the working-class people who could no longer afford to live in Troy. So when she left the YWCA, she left the area, moving further downstate.

See also Social service system Public housing, 167 Puckett, Jim, 169 Race earnings, 70 and education, 57–58 and employment, 69–70 and inequality, 67, 71 and poverty status, 63 Raitano, Zianaveva, 127, 134, 136, 140–142, 156 Real-world technology, 31 Reardon, Kenneth M., 106 “Rebuilding a Good Jobs Economy,” 162 Reconstructed stories, 120, 123 Redistribution, 8 Reform Organization of Welfare (ROWEL), 11 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 83 Rental housing, 52 Rent control, 166–167 Reproductive justice, 29 Research, 164–165 Reynolds, Cathy, 72–73, 91 Rose, Jenn, 42, 45, 108, 139, 143–144 Ross, Loretta J., 79 Sacrificial girls, 19, 169–170 Sally Catlin Resource Center, 5 Sanctioned ignorance, 2 Sanctuary for Independent Media, 145 Scandinavia, 106 Scanlon, Karen, 120 Schneider, Anne L., 96 Schram, Sanford, 140 Schuler, Douglas, 106 Science shops, 164–165 Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 158 Index Service industries, 65, 75–77, 160–162 Settlement House movement, 105 Silicon Valley, 3–4, 51, 61, 168 Sims, The, 119 Single parents, 162 “Sink-or-Swim Economy, The,” 53 Skill sharers, 115 Social contract, 132 Social groups, 26 Social justice, 25–26, 29 cognitive justice, 147–148, 151–152, 163 and distributive paradigm, 36, 45, 81 and high-tech pollution, 168–169 and information economy, 71, 154 and IT, 37, 84–85, 147–148 and popular technology, 126–127 Social location, 23–25, 27–29, 57, 148, 150 Social privilege, 42 Social reproduction, 75 Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), 85–86 Social service system double binds, 125 and information abuse, 92–93 and IT, 89–90 and knowledge fragmentation, 93–94 and limiting options, 90–91 and narrative context, 94–95 and participation, 97 and political learning, 85–86, 97 and surveillance technologies, 82–83 target populations, 96–97 and tracking behavior, 90 and transparency, 91–92 use and disclosure statement, 92–93 and women, 30, 96–98, 120–123, 133 Soss, Joe, 85–86, 97 Standing, Guy, 71 Standpoint, 148, 150–151 Index 265 State of Poverty simulation exercise, 11–16, 217 Stephenson, John B., 169 Tubman, Harriet, 50, 145 2-1-1, 119 Stoeker, Randy, 33 Strauss, Anselm L., 178 Strong objectivity, 146 SUNY, Albany, 83 Surrogate pregnancy, 29 Surveillance technologies, 82 Survival, 140 Systemic inequality, 42 Underground Railroad Conference, 145 Unemployment, 55, 58–61 inequality, 69–70 women, 58, 61, 69–70 Unions, 157–158 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 160 United Way, 119 University of California-Santa Cruz, 83 Urban planning, 107 Use and disclosure statement, 92–93 Technological artifacts, 83–85 Technological Opportunities Program, 166 Technological pessimism, 37 Technology.


The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, interchangeable parts, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Socratic dialogue, traveling salesman, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

Ray Andriutti was whaling down his pepperoni and his coffee swill, and Jimmy Caughey held half a roast-beef hero up in the air like a baton while he talked to somebody on the telephone about some piece a shit he’d been assigned to. Kramer wasn’t hungry. He kept reading the story in The City Light. He was fascinated. Rent-controlled love nest, $331 a month. The revelation didn’t really affect the case much one way or the other. Maria Ruskin wouldn’t come off as quite the sympathetic little lovely who had wowed them in the grand-jury room, but she’d make a good witness all the same. And when she did her “Shuhmun” duet with Roland Auburn, he’d have Sherman McCoy cocked and locked. Rent-controlled love nest, $331 a month. Did he dare call Mr. Hiellig Winter? Why not? He should interview him in any case…see if he can amplify the relationship of Maria Ruskin and Sherman McCoy as it pertains to…to…to rent-controlled love nest, $331 a month. Sherman walked out of the living room and into the entry gallery and listened to the sound of his shoes on the solemn green marble.

He picked up The City Light, more than ready to drown himself in his public shame. “ ‘Love nest’…‘tryst pad’…a picture of the very bed where ‘the millionairess Maria entertained McCoy’…This is what my wife picks up, she and a couple of million other people…and my daughter…My little girl’s almost seven. Her little friends will be perfectly capable of filling her in on what all this means…and ready and eager…You can be sure of that…Imagine. That sonofabitch, Winter, he’s so slimy he takes the press in to take a picture of the bed!” Quigley said, “They’re wild men, Mr. McCoy, these landlords in the rent-controlled buildings. They’re maniacs. They got one thing on their minds from morning to night, and that’s getting tenants out. Ain’t no Sicilian hates anybody worse than a rent-control landlord hates his tenants. They think the tenants are stealing their life’s blood. They go crazy. This guy sees Maria Ruskin’s picture in the paper, and she’s got a twenty-room apartment on Fifth Avenue, and he flips out and goes running to the newspaper.” Sherman opened the newspaper to page 3, where the full story began.

McCoy was in the spectator section of the courtroom yesterday, apparently unrecognized by the noisy group of demonstrators, black and white, who occupied most of the seats. At one point, Mr. McCoy looked toward his wife, smiled slightly, and raised his left hand in a clenched-fist salute. The meaning of this gesture was unclear. Mrs. McCoy refused to speak to reporters. “Rent-Controlled Love Nest” Mr. McCoy’s marriage was rocked by the revelation that Maria Ruskin Chirazzi, heiress of the Ruskin air-charter fortune, was in the automobile with Mr. McCoy at the time Mr. Lamb was struck. The couple, it developed, had been conducting an affair in a secret apartment later dubbed the “rent-controlled love nest.” Mrs. Chirazzi’s then-husband, Arthur Ruskin, died of a heart attack shortly before her involvement in the case was made known. District Attorney Weiss had been prepared to begin a new trial on the reckless endangerment charge when Mr.


pages: 302 words: 74,350

I Hate the Internet: A Novel by Jarett Kobek

Anne Wojcicki, Burning Man, disruptive innovation, East Village, Edward Snowden, Golden Gate Park, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, liberation theology, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, packet switching, PageRank, Peter Thiel, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Whole Earth Catalog

He was enslaving people at home while crafting a philosophical system that advocated the spread of liberty throughout the world. It was a hell of a time to be alive. chapter eighteen Christine was under pressure. She had rented the same apartment since 1997. The apartment was rent-controlled, which meant that her landlord could raise the rent by only a small yearly percentage. This percentage was set by the San Francisco Rent Board. The highest increase had been 2.9%. The lowest had been 0.1%. Christine rented her apartment in 1997 at $1,000 a month. With all the percentage increases, Christine at present was paying $1350 per month. By the halfway point of 2013, the median price of 1BRs in San Francisco was $2,800. Rent control is a miracle. Christine lived in an apartment complex with six units spread across two buildings. This rendered her a less likely candidate for eviction, thanks to technicalities in the laws that governed evictions.

An unexpected consequence of the Ellis Act was that it created market incentives for landlords to convert their properties into condo buildings or rip down pre-existing structures and erect new gargantuan buildings in their stead. Created for one purpose, it had assumed another. It had become the de facto method of evicting the elderly and ethnic minorities. The elderly and ethnic minorities were living in rent controlled apartments. They were taking up space that could be occupied by employees of Google. The biggest problem with Christine’s living situation is that all six units had been occupied for years. All of the apartments were rent controlled. The landlord had inherited the buildings from his mother in the late 1970s. He didn’t have eumelanin in the basale stratum of his epidermis. He tried to be a patient man, but every day the news media bombarded him with stories about the city’s rising rents. He couldn’t help but calculate how much money he would be making if his tenants paid the market rate.

“All I know is that I have requests for interviews about your epic rant and you’re rambling about delicious kitchen treats.” Baby was speaking to Adeline from his Cape Cod home. Cape Cod was a land mass jutting off the coast of Massachusetts that looked like a flexed human arm. Baby had left New York City after people from Wall Street ran up the rents. Rent wasn’t his problem. His apartment on 7th Street had been rent controlled. Plus, he could’ve afforded the market rate. His agents were good at selling film options on his books and Baby’s money manager used Baby’s capital to produce more capital. Trapped Between Jupiter and a Bottle, which Baby titled after an ex-boyfriend’s mishearing of a Bob Dylan lyric, had sold to a eumelaninless film producer and director named Alan Pakula. Alan Pakula never made Trapped Between Jupiter and a Bottle into a movie, but he had directed All the President’s Men, one of the films featuring an Academy Award winning performance by Jason Robards.


pages: 444 words: 138,781

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

affirmative action, Cass Sunstein, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, desegregation, dumpster diving, ending welfare as we know it, fixed income, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jobless men, Kickstarter, late fees, mass incarceration, New Urbanism, payday loans, price discrimination, profit motive, rent control, statistical model, superstar cities, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, thinkpad, upwardly mobile, working poor, young professional

Matthew Desmond and Kristin Perkins, “Are Landlords Overcharging Voucher Holders?,” working paper, Harvard University, June 2015; Cutts and Olsen, “Are Section 8 Housing Subsidies Too High?”; Olsen, “Housing Programs for Low-Income Households.” On housing cost regulation, see Tommy Andersson and Lars-Gunnar Svensson, “Non-Manipulable House Allocation with Rent Control,” Econometrica 82 (2014): 507–39; Richard Arnott, “Time for Revisionism on Rent Control?,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (1995): 99–120. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released a plan to provide voucher holders “with subsidies that better reflect the localized rental market” by proposing “Small Area Fair Market Rents” that “vary by ZIP code and support a greater range of payment standards than can be achieved under existing regulations.”

We know much more about public housing, which serves less than 2 percent of the population, than about inner-city landlords and their properties, which constitute the bulk of housing for the ghetto poor. We know much more about housing vouchers, enjoyed by the lucky minority of low-income families, than about how the majority of low-income families make ends meet unassisted in the private rental market. In 1995, Richard Arnott observed that economists’ “focus on rent control has diverted attention from more important housing policy issues….Not a single paper has been published in a leading journal during the last decade dealing with low-income housing problems.” Richard Arnott, “Time for Revisionism on Rent Control?,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (1995): 99–120, 117. 10. Matthew Desmond and Tracey Shollenberger, “Forced Displacement from Rental Housing: Prevalence and Neighborhood Consequences,” Demography, forthcoming. 11. Matthew Desmond, “Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty,” American Journal of Sociology 118 (2012): 88–133. 12.

Strikers joined together to withhold rent and form picket lines, risking eviction, arrest, and beatings by hired thugs. They were not an especially radical bunch, these strikers. Most were ordinary mothers and fathers who believed landlords were entitled to modest rent increases and fair profits, but not “price gouging.” In New York City, the great rent wars of the Roaring Twenties forced a state legislature to impose rent controls that remain the country’s strongest to this day.3 Petitions, picket lines, civil disobedience—this kind of political mobilization required a certain shift in vision. “For a protest movement to arise out of [the] traumas of daily life,” the sociologists Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward have observed, “the social arrangements that are ordinarily perceived as just and immutable must come to seem both unjust and mutable.”4 This usually happened during extraordinary times, when large-scale social transformations or economic disturbances—the postwar housing shortage, say—profoundly upset the status quo.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Thus this price effect may harm the very people whom a minimum wage is supposed to help.”30 And taxes, of course, drive up costs. But there is much more. Take the cost of housing, which is often the greatest financial burden people face. Land-use laws, zoning restrictions, height restrictions, and minimum-lot-size requirements all constrain the supply of housing and help to raise prices in many areas.31 Rent-control laws, among other evils, lead to poor quality of rent-controlled units and higher prices for non-rent-controlled units. So-called urban renewal projects have demolished much of the affordable housing once available to low-income Americans, largely in order to appease outsiders who had enough money to live elsewhere.32 And the government’s “affordable housing” crusade helped spur the housing bubble that drove up the cost of many houses, to the detriment of everyone who didn’t yet own homes.

No society has yet had complete liberty, however. Even in America, there were important restrictions on freedom, including economic freedom, from the start. Slavery was the most glaring and vicious example, but hardly the only one. Today, meanwhile, although we have far more liberty than our feudal ancestors, there are countless ways in which the government restricts our freedom to produce and trade, including minimum wage laws, rent control, occupational licensing laws, tariffs, union shop laws, antitrust laws, government monopolies such as those granted to the post office and the education system, subsidies for industries such as agriculture or wind and solar power, eminent domain laws, wealth redistribution via the welfare state, and the progressive income tax. Unfortunately, these burdens and controls are increasing—and that, not rising economic inequality, is what explains the sense that opportunity is under attack today.

., 39 Petersen, Susan, 66 Pickett, Kate, 7, 79, 118, 121, 123, 211–12 Piketty, Thomas, 9, 20–1, 23, 38, 42, 45–6, 121, 153, 156, 217, 220 Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 4–5, 7, 165–7, 186 on CEO pay, 158, 160–3 on inequality and growth, 110 on inequality of conditions, 192 on inequality of income, 205 on taxation, 212 Piscione, Deborah Perry, 130 Political Action Committees (PACs), 151, 173 political equality, 16, 80, 100, 114, 203, 250n54 and America’s founding, 12–14, 55 and communism, 52 defined, 12 and economic equality, 178–9, 223–4 and freedom, 103–4 and mobility, 118 poverty, 8, 217, 223, 239n43 absolute and relative poverty, 139 antipoverty programs, 45, 138–44 and Cuba, 52–3 and opportunity, 62–3, 73–5, 81, 129, 223 and progress, 98–9 Powell, Benjamin, 64–5 power, 177–85 private property rights, 6, 12–16, 103, 112 privilege, 145–53, 178–81, 223 progress, 89, 144, 212, 223 conditions of, 83–7 and egalitarianism, 216, 218 and entrepreneurship, 90–1 and finance, 93–4, 154 and freedom, 66, 144, 185 and the Gilded Age, 24–5 and harmony of interests, 95–8 human, 5, 80, 90, 98–101, 110, 130, 132, 174, 199, 205, 225 and inequality, 5–7, 107–14 and innovation, 101–7 and intellectual ability, 87–90 and labor, 94–5 and management, 91–3 medical, 136 and stagnation, 41, 43, 47–8 and taxation, 30 Putnam, Robert, 75 Rand, Ayn on American individualism, 55–6 Atlas Shrugged, 96, 227 on collectivism, 54–6, 200 on equality, 206 Fountainhead, The, 197–8 on genius, 199 “Money-Making Personality, The,” 149 on property rights, 202–3 Pyramid of Ability, 95–6 on rationalization, 215 on social systems, 187 on traders, 60 Rauh, Joshua, 160 Rawls, John, 78–80, 186–93, 198, 202, 204, 211, 217 Reagan, Ronald, 20, 32–3 Reich, Robert, 19, 164 Reisman, George, 62 rent-control laws, 129 responsibility, 67–71, 75–8 Reynolds, Alan, 45 Riley, Jason, 140 risk mitigation, 154–5 Roberts, Russ, 110, 157 Robinson, James A., 166–7 Robinson Crusoe (Defoe), 9, 146, 198 Rockefeller, John D., 106, 228 Roebling, John, 105 Romer, Christina, 128–9 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 68 Rose, Stephen J., 42 Rosenberg, Nathan, 99–100, 103–4 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 187, 207, 216 Rowe, Mike, 72 Rowling, J.


Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court by Ralph E. Warner

estate planning, fixed income, lateral thinking, medical malpractice, rent control

They agree between themselves to each pay half of the rent. After three months, James moves out without notifying Helen or the owner, Laura. As one of the two co-tenants, Helen is still legally obligated to pay all the rent and may be able to recover James’s share by suing him in small claims court. In the same way, Laura, the owner, may sue Helen, the tenant, for the full amount of the rent in small claims court. 5. Rent Control Cases In the few areas with rent control laws, a landlord who charges illegally high rent can be sued by the tenant not only for the excess rent charged, but for a punitive amount as well (often three times the overcharge). C. Drug Dealing and Other Crimes Your landlord has some degree of legal responsibility to provide secure housing. This means he must take reasonable steps to: • protect tenants from would-be assailants, thieves, and other criminals • protect tenants from the criminal acts of fellow tenants • warn tenants about dangerous situations they are aware of but cannot eliminate, and • protect the neighborhood from their tenants’ illegal activities, such as drug dealing.

Unpaid Rent, Rent Withholding, and Other Money Damage Cases ................................................ 289 1. If the Tenant Has No Defense.......................................... 289 2. When a Tenant Breaks a Lease......................................... 290 3. When the Rent-Withholding Tenant Claims the Unit Is Uninhabitable................................................ 290 4. Tenants Suing Co-Tenants for Unpaid Rent...................... 294 5. Rent Control Cases.......................................................... 294 C. Drug Dealing and Other Crimes ........................................... 294 1. Tenants Band Together..................................................... 295 2. Drug-Dealing Tenants...................................................... 296 D. The Obnoxious Landlord....................................................... 298 278 everybody’s guide to small claims court E.

Evictions ............................................................................... 301 chapter 20: landlord-tenant cases 279 B y using small claims court, tenants in most states can sue for money damages over a whole host of landlord violations—failure to return a cleaning or damage deposit, invasion of the tenant’s privacy, violation of the duty to provide safe and habitable premises, and rent control violations, to name but a few. In addition, a group of tenants or neighbors can individually (but simultaneously) sue a landlord who allows drug dealing on the rental property. For example, if ten tenants sue a landlord who tolerates drug dealing for $7,500 each, the landlord would face a $75,000 suit. Although the majority of cases are initiated by tenants, landlords can and do also use small claims court—for example, to sue a current or former tenant for unpaid rent or for damages done to the rental property.


Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities by Alain Bertaud

autonomous vehicles, call centre, colonial rule, congestion charging, creative destruction, cross-subsidies, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, extreme commuting, garden city movement, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land tenure, manufacturing employment, market design, market fragmentation, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, openstreetmap, Pearl River Delta, price mechanism, rent control, Right to Buy, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, the built environment, trade route, transaction costs, transit-oriented development, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

In the United States, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit provides a tax credit to developers who provide rental units affordable to households who have incomes below 60 percent of the area’s median gross income. Inclusive zoning programs, like the New York project discussed below, rely on a mix of tax incentives and zoning bonuses. Rent-control programs make the private sector pay entirely for the subsidy, although the municipality loses property tax income because of the low value of rent-controlled properties. Many of these supply side subsidy programs suffer from the same problem as public housing. They prevent beneficiary mobility, because the subsidy is linked to a specific housing unit, which will be lost if the household moves to another apartment. If the shortcomings of supply side subsidies are so evident and well documented, why do so many municipal governments seem to prefer them to demand side subsidies?

It allows financing a large number of dwellings without creating a vast bureaucracy. However, it requires that the government be able to afford the cost of the vouchers, so that low-income households are not given the false hope of a low-odds lottery. It also requires that supply constraints on land and construction be removed in advance of the distribution of vouchers. Supply Side Subsidies: Public Housing, Inclusive Zoning, and Rent Control In spite of the advantages of demand side subsidies, many governments prefer supply side subsidies. Supply side subsidies do not give the subsidies directly to households but to developers to build a predetermined type of housing in a specific location for a specific price. To benefit from supply side subsidies, households have to move to the dwelling that receives the subsidy, whose location, size, and design have been selected by planners, not by the end user.

However, with such a large subsidy, no original tenant in subsidized inclusionary zoning apartment is likely to ever move out, even if their income increases twofold, as moving out would represent an immediate large drop in housing consumption. In New York, the subsidy is granted in perpetuity. It is therefore likely that descendants of original tenants will succeed their parents when they retire, as currently happens for rent-controlled apartments. The inclusionary zoning apartments are, therefore, unlikely to constitute a pool of affordable housing in the future. In addition, the large subsidy attached to a specific apartment tends to decrease the mobility of tenants who benefit from it. Incentive to Sublet If presented with a possibility to receive the monthly subsidy as income, tenants would probably prefer this option rather than remaining in the luxury apartment allocated to them.


pages: 614 words: 174,226

The Economists' Hour: How the False Prophets of Free Markets Fractured Our Society by Binyamin Appelbaum

"Robert Solow", airline deregulation, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, starchitect, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

It finally appeared in 1945, allowing Friedman to obtain his doctorate.21 That year, Friedman briefly joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota, where he shared an office with another young professor, George Stigler. The two men, who had first met as graduate students at Chicago, co-authored an attack on rent control playfully entitled Roofs or Ceilings? for the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education. Friedman and Stigler began by describing the rapid reconstruction of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of the city. Then they jumped ahead forty years, writing that San Francisco once again needed a wave of new construction to house a booming population. But this time, they said, the government was standing in the way. They argued that rent controls discouraged construction of new apartments and maintenance of existing apartments. By restraining the profits of landlords, they said, the government was harming tenants, too.22 The Foundation for Economic Education objected to a passage in which Friedman and Stigler wrote that reducing economic inequality was a legitimate goal of public policy, even though they added that rent control was the wrong way to pursue that goal.

By restraining the profits of landlords, they said, the government was harming tenants, too.22 The Foundation for Economic Education objected to a passage in which Friedman and Stigler wrote that reducing economic inequality was a legitimate goal of public policy, even though they added that rent control was the wrong way to pursue that goal. The foundation inserted a note, without the authors’ permission, describing the pamphlet as all the more compelling for showing that even a pair of bleeding hearts like Friedman and Stigler opposed rent control. A trade group for real estate agents distributed half a million copies.23 By the time the pamphlet appeared in the fall of 1946, Friedman already had left Minnesota to join the economics faculty at the University of Chicago. Shortly after his arrival, in the spring of 1947, he traveled with Aaron Director and Stigler to Switzerland for the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, a group created by the libertarian economist Friedrich Hayek to bring together the lonely apostles of the free market, who labored in an environment of unremitting hostility to their ideas, which were widely viewed as dangerous and old-fashioned.

Far too much is made of such distinctions; the leading members of both groups favored the key shifts described in this book. Although nature tends toward entropy, they shared a confidence that economies tend toward equilibrium. They agreed the primary goal of economic policy was to increase the dollar value of the nation’s economic output. They had little patience for efforts to address inequality. A 1979 survey of the members of the American Economic Association found 98 percent opposed rent controls, 97 percent opposed tariffs, 95 percent favored floating exchange rates, and 90 percent opposed minimum wage laws.37 Their differences were matters of degree, and while those differences are consequential — and are described in these pages — the degree of consensus was consequential, too. Critiques of capitalism that remained a staple of mainstream debate in Europe were seldom heard in the United States.


The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert H. Frank

carbon footprint, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, congestion charging, corporate governance, deliberate practice, full employment, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, smart grid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, winner-take-all economy

Perhaps it’s reasonable to hope for efficient solutions in only those cases that lend themselves to simple compensation arrangements—such as the volunteer auction solution for oversold flights or the monthly rebate palliative for the directory assistance charge. But many issues clearly do not lend themselves to such arrangements. Yet efficient solutions are often elusive even in cases for which transfer remedies could be easily administered. If rent controls are inefficient, for example, why don’t cities use vouchers to buy people out of their rent control leases? Tenants could relocate to smaller apartments at the market rate and be compensated by receiving the equivalent of a cash transfer in the form of a voucher. By the same token, why don’t we use auctions to determine the siting of prisons and other unattractive public facilities? Each community could submit a sealed bid indicating the minimum amount it would be willing to EFFICIENCY RULES 117 accept in return for agreeing to host the facility.

The poor can’t afford a decent place to EFFICIENCY RULES 113 live? The most efficient remedy would be to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), one of the few income-transfer programs that Ronald Reagan endorsed. But conservatives in Congress have grown increasingly hostile to the EITC in recent years. If we can’t transfer income directly, the alternative is usually a more costly one, such as rent controls. Struggling farmers can’t make ends meet? The most efficient solution would be to transfer income to them directly. But with that option closed, we turn to other, far more costly measures, such as price supports for agricultural products. Poor people can’t afford telephone service or pay their gas and electric bills? Again, the most efficient response would be income transfers, but instead we require “lifeline” utility rates that encourage inefficient use patterns and lead to higher rates for other customers.

See government regulations relative consumption, importance of, 24–25 relative income, 23, 44 relative performance: CEO pay by, in winner-take-all markets, 150; dependence of reward on, 9, 211–12; in natural selection, 8–9, 21, 23–24 relative position: in human brain, 25–26; importance of, 23–26, 29, 212–13; libertarian rejection of role of, 29, 212–13; in natural selection, 8–9, 21, 23–24; neurophysiological responses to, 26–27. See also rank rent controls, 113, 116 reproductive fitness, 7–8, 20–21, 24, 25 Republican Party, on cap-and-trade system, 181 research grants, 133–35 retirement savings: in economic models versus real life, 54; mandatory, 205–6; reasons for libertarian compromise on, 208, 210 revealed preference doctrine, 44 reward: dependence on rank, 11; dependence on relative performance, 9, 211–12 Reynolds, Glenn, 142–43 Ricardo, David, 16 rights, 207–11; constitutional limitations on, 208; cost-benefit analysis of, 93–99, 209; versus government regulations, 208–11; majority versus minority, 207–11 right-wing think tanks, on government as problem, 5 roads.


pages: 325 words: 89,374

Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing by John Boughton

British Empire, deindustrialization, full employment, garden city movement, ghettoisation, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, profit motive, rent control, Right to Buy, rising living standards, starchitect, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, young professional

It grew far scarcer, particularly in areas where arms production was concentrated, as domestic housebuilding and repair gave way to the military priorities of total war. The resultant crisis came to a head in an eight-month rent strike in Glasgow in 1915, involving at its peak 20,000 households, which forced the government to introduce rent controls. This unprecedented intervention into the free market reflected government fears of a working-class militancy that might threaten the war effort. Practically, it testified to the simple fact that the housing market was broken – that supply and demand were catastrophically out of kilter. The irony, which contemporary politicians understood only too well, was that the imposition of rent controls further reduced the incentive of private builders to build for rent and for landlords to let. As the war draw to a close and the pent-up demand for new housing grew ever more pressing, it became clear that state action was unavoidable.

And one of its heroes (assuming you favour the victors) was Nicholas Taylor, a planner and Lewisham Labour councillor, whose book, The Village in the City, published the same year as Fergusson’s, set out its guiding principles as ‘rehabilitate wherever you can rather than demolish; where you rehabilitate, do it gently so as to preserve the community’. He added the admonition that housing design shouldn’t be ‘an adventure playground for architects’.38 A neglected strand of conservation and rehabilitation politics of the 1970s is the programme of municipalisation – the purchase and council management of former privately rented homes. Municipalisation had briefly been official Labour policy in the 1950s, seen primarily as a means of rent control and property improvement. It was revived in the 1970s. The councillors of Clay Cross in Derbyshire thought of themselves ‘as basic Socialists’ – they regarded housing as ‘a social service, not as something the private sector can profit from’ – and declared in 1972 their intention to purchase every privately rented home in the district.39 In 1974, the chair of Hackney’s Housing Development Committee, Alderman J.H.

It had been favoured by some Conservative-controlled authorities from the 1920s but sales initially had to be authorised by central government (which had, after all, lent the capital) and were expected to achieve the best price. Churchill’s Conservative government removed those restrictions in 1952, and in 1959 Labour went even further in a manifesto commitment offering every tenant ‘a chance … to buy from the Council the house he lives in’.1 It also, however, pledged to take existing private, rent-controlled homes into municipal ownership. The cross-party expectation was that income from council house sales was reinvested in the programme of new council house construction that continued apace. Thatcher’s decisive 1980 Housing Act found a willing cohort of councils, especially those on the right, who had already started to sell off council housing. In Derby, briefly held by the Conservatives after 1968, homes were sold to tenants on the Mackworth Estate and across the city.


pages: 775 words: 208,604

The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality From the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel

agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, corporate governance, cosmological principle, crony capitalism, dark matter, declining real wages, demographic transition, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, hiring and firing, income inequality, John Markoff, knowledge worker, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, means of production, mega-rich, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, rent control, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, universal basic income, very high income, working-age population, zero-sum game

From 1943 the government enforced an all-encompassing shift into armaments production: ill-founded promises of future compensation were the only inducement. In 1944 the state assumed further powers, and some businesses were nationalized. One survey lists about seventy different economic controls that were created between 1937 and 1945—a wide range of measures that included rationing, capital controls, wage control, price control, and land rent control.6 The zaibatsu system of business conglomerates that were tightly controlled by a few wealthy families began to weaken. As corporate savings and investment by the rich proved insufficient to raise the necessary capital for wartime industrial expansion, funds had to be borrowed from outside these formerly closed circles, and the Industrial Bank of Japan reduced the market share of private financial institutions.

Before the war, landlords—most of them of modest wealth—owned half of all farmland, and a third of all farmers worked as their tenants. Rural poverty had triggered disputes and unrest during the interwar period, but reform attempts had remained feeble at best. This changed with the Farmland Adjustment Law of 1938, which pushed owners to sell tenanted land and allowed for compulsory purchase of uncultivated land. In 1939 the Land Rent Control Order froze rents at current levels and gave the government the right to order rent reductions. The Land Price Control Order of 1941 fixed land prices at 1939 values, and the Land Control Order of the same year gave the government the power to decide which crops were to be planted. With the Food Control Law of 1942, the authorities began to determine the price of staples. All rice beyond that required for personal consumption was to be sold to the state, and all land rents beyond personal needs were to be transferred to the treasury.

This allowed the income of primary producers to keep pace with inflation, whereas landlords’ incomes were eroded, a divergence that produced considerable leveling in the countryside. Real farm rents fell by four-fifths between 1941 and 1945, and from 4.4 percent of national income in the mid-1930s to 0.3 percent in 1946. Outcomes for landlords could have been even worse, as various proposals for confiscation were circulated but never implemented.8 Workers benefited not only from rent controls, state subsidies, and increasing government intervention in business management but also from an expansion of welfare provisions that were created out of concern for the physical condition of recruits and workers and for the express purpose of reducing anxiety among the citizenry. A Welfare Ministry was set up in 1938 and immediately became a major driving force behind social policy. Its officials initiated partially state-funded health insurance schemes, which were greatly expanded from 1941 onward, as was poor relief.


pages: 307 words: 96,543

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl Wudunn

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Bernie Sanders, carried interest, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Brooks, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, epigenetics, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, job automation, jobless men, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shai Danziger, single-payer health, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor

There was also a racial dimension: almost all the residents of the condos were white, while virtually all those living in the homeless shelter were black. On the political left, some people have advocated rent controls for people like Marquita, but these haven’t worked well when they’ve been tried, for reasons of basic economics. Rent control doesn’t increase the supply and tends to constrict it because people don’t give up bargain apartments, and developers are wary of building if they think their returns will be held down. In some cities, owners can also convert rentals to unregulated condominiums. Meanwhile, rent control tends to increase demand, so you have more people competing for fewer apartments. There’s also a growing consensus among economists that zoning rules—such as limiting many areas for single-family dwellings—reduce the supply of affordable housing and thus increase homelessness.

When we expressed awe, he humbly said that there were others who never made it back at all. * * * — BY EVEN A CONSERVATIVE COUNT, there are more than half a million homeless people in America at any one time, including nearly two hundred thousand living on the streets rather than in shelters. Homelessness has increased in the last forty years even as America has become much wealthier, because of a confluence of factors. After World War II, new rent controls and land-use zoning rules discouraged new affordable housing. Then President John F. Kennedy had a vision of moving the mentally ill and physically disabled out of specialty institutions into community centers closer to family. But not enough centers have been created, so vulnerable people end up homeless. As a philosophy of personal responsibility took hold in the 1980s, President Reagan cut the federal housing budget in half, and housing subsidies have never recovered.


pages: 399 words: 155,913

The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law by Timothy Sandefur

American ideology, barriers to entry, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Edward Glaeser, housing crisis, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, minimum wage unemployment, positional goods, price stability, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, Robert Bork, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wealth creators

Thus, while the law allows the American people to do everything, there are things which religion prevents them from imagining and forbids them to dare.”35 Society’s mores thus restrained the tyranny of the majority that might otherwise override the Constitution’s protections for individual freedom. With the coming of the 20th century, however, the police powers were increasingly stretched by Populist and Progressive activists.36 The Modern Contracts Clause At the end of World War I, several East Coast cities faced serious housing shortages. Rents were rising, and many residents faced foreclosure and eviction. New York, Washington, and other cities responded by passing rent-control measures prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants who paid a “reasonable” rent. The landlords challenged these laws as violations of the contracts clause because they impaired their lease contracts. But the Supreme Court upheld the laws, explaining that “contracts are made subject to [the] exercise of the power of the state”37 and that the emergency justified the government’s actions. A decade later, an even greater emergency struck: the Great Depression.

The state’s socialist governor, Floyd Olson, warned that “if the legislature—the Senate in particular—does not make ample provision for the sufferers in this state,” he would “declare martial law” and “[a] lot of people who are now fighting the [proposed debtor-relief] measures because they happen to possess considerable wealth will be brought in by provost guards.”39 The legislature caved in to these threats on April 18, 1933, unanimously approving a law modeled on the New York rent-control law. The Minnesota act extended the period during which a resident could reclaim mortgaged property after the bank had foreclosed and sold it. That period had been one year, but the new law allowed judges to extend it to two years. The law also sought to avoid constitutional conflict by declaring that no such extension would be granted if it would “substantially diminish or impair the value of the contract . . . without reasonable allowance to justify the exercise of the police power.”40 The law also allowed courts to reject a foreclosure sale and to require a new sale if the sale price was judged to be “inadequate.”41 The problem with this law is that the Constitution’s ban on laws impairing contractual obligations contains no “emergency” exception.

Olken, “Charles Evans Hughes and the Blaisdell Decision: A Historical Study of Contract Clause Jurisprudence,” Oregon Law Review 72 (1993): 542. 35. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. George Lawrence and ed. J. P. Mayer (New York: Harper Perennial, 1969), p. 292. 36. Olken, “Charles Evans Hughes,” 548. 37. Marcus Brown Holding Co. v. Feldman, 256 U.S. 170, 198 (1921). See also Block v. Hirsh, 256 U.S. 135 (1921) (upholding a Washington, D.C., rent-control ordinance). 38. William L. Prosser, “The Minnesota Mortgage Moratorium,” Southern California Law Review 7 (1934): 353–55. 39. Ibid., p. 355. 40. Olken, “Charles Evans Hughes,” 574. 41. Prosser, “Minnesota Mortgage Moratorium,” 362. 42. Ibid., 357. 43. Home Bldg. & Loan Ass’n v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398, 444 (1934). 44. See G. Edward White, The Constitution and the New Deal (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 212–13. 45.


pages: 232

Planet of Slums by Mike Davis

barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, centre right, clean water, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, edge city, European colonialism, failed state, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, jitney, jobless men, Kibera, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, liberation theology, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, megacity, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rent control, structural adjustment programs, surplus humans, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor

Accordingly, in the first golden years of the revolution, there was a huge national effort to rehouse the poor, even if many of the projects, in retrospect, were drab adaptations of modernism.35 Although revolutionary Cuba's commitment to a "new urbanism" , was avant-garde, the ideal of a popular entitiement tojiousing wasjiot i unique in the contemporary Third World in the late 1950s and early ' 1960s: Nasser, Nehru, and Sukarno also promised to rebuild slums and create immense quanitities of new housing. In addition to subsidized housing and rent control, Nasser's "contract with Egypt" guaranteed public-sector jobs to every secondary-school graduate. Revolutionary Algeria legislated free universal healthcare and education, together with I rent subsidies for poor city-dwellers. "Socialist" African states, beginj ning with Tanzania in the early 1960s, all started off with ambitious programs to relocate urban slum-dwellers into new low-cost housing.

The challenge was to reconcile a continuing supply of cheap labor with soaring land values, and the preferred solution was not high rents — which would have forced up wages — but peripheralization and overcrowding By 1971, writes Smart, one million squatters had been resettled "on land equivalent to only 34 percent of the land previously occupied, and on peripheral land of much lower value." Likewise hundreds of thousands of poor tenants had been relocated from their former rent-controlled housing in the central area. Space allocation in public housing in the early 1960s was a minuscule 24 square feet per adult, with toilets and kitchens shared by an entire floor. Although conditions improved in projects built later, Hong Kong maintained the highest formal residential densities in the world: the price for freeing up the maximum surface area for highrise offices and expensive market-price apartments.39 38 Berner, "Learning from Informal Markets," p. 244. 39 Smart, Making Room, pp. 1, 33, 36, 52, 55.

However, this first military attempt to roll back informal settlement was only partly successful, and with the restoration of civilian rule in the early 1970s, the slums again became hotbeds of radical Peronist and socialist agitation. When the generals came back into power in March 1976, they were determined to destroy the villas miserias once and for all; during the terrible years of el Proceso, rent control was repealed, 94 percent of the "illegal" settlements in Gran Buenos Aires were razed, and 270,000 poor people were rendered homeless. Rankand-file organizers, including lay Catholics as well as leftists, were systematically "disappeared." As in Chile, the liquidation of slum-based 47 Alfredo Rodriguez and Ana Maria Icaza, " Chile," in Azuela, Duhau, and Ortiz, Evictions and the Right to Housing p. 51. 48 Harms, "To live in the City Centre," p. 198. 49 Cathy Schneider, Shantytoivn Protest in Pinochet's Chile, Philadelphia 1995, p. 101.


pages: 303 words: 75,192

10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less by Garett Jones

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, business cycle, central bank independence, clean water, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Edward Glaeser, financial independence, game design, German hyperinflation, hive mind, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Kenneth Rogoff, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, rent control, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization

• In states with elected electricity regulators, there’s noisy evidence that overall points toward more blackouts and less quality improvement after previous blackouts. The evidence on the effects of elected electricity regulators isn’t as conclusive as the evidence for the costs of voter-dependent central banks. But taken together, it’s consistent with a simple freshman economics story where elected regulators tend to impose price ceilings for consumer electricity—a little like rent control—thus keeping prices low but at the cost of keeping the quantity (and quality) of supply low. The lower mandated prices are likely to cause less investment in electricity infrastructure. That means that with price ceilings, you might get more brownouts or blackouts, or it might be harder to build a new subdivision amid the restricted electricity supply, but for most consumers, the low rates feel like a free lunch.

It’s not only that the least educated are the most likely to fall for conspiracy theories. Perhaps even worse, they’re more likely to fall for bad economic ideas. My George Mason colleague Bryan Caplan conclusively documented in his famed book The Myth of the Rational Voter that the least educated are the most likely to support policies that are largely rejected by academic economists: higher taxes on imported goods, rent control, and tougher government-enforced rules that make it harder for firms to fire workers, to name just a few.⁹ As Princeton’s Blinder puts it in Advice and Dissent, “A more economically literate public would be a blessing.”¹⁰ It’s likely no surprise that the least educated are most likely to disagree with experts in economics; they’re more likely than the educated to disagree with experts in medicine and history as well!

, 25–26 Olson, Mancur: on selective benefits, 141 Orange County, California: bankruptcy of, 77, 79–80 Pareto efficiency, 160 Paris Club conditions on loans, 125–26 Parkin, Michael: on central bank independence (CBI), 44–45 peace: and democracy, 15–17, 186; and liberal institutions, 16–17; relationship to trade, 16–17 Plosser, Charles: on real business cycle (RBC) theory, 55 Plunkitt, George Washington: Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, 105, 137–38, 141, 175; on reelection, 137–38 Poland: EU membership, 158; unanimity rule in, 160, 162 political culture and central banks, 47, 58–59 political donors, 31 political machines, 137, 142–43, 175–76, 179 Polity IV index: Autocracy index, 18–19; Democracy index, 18–19, 171 Polybius: on mixed form of government, 181, 183–84 Pop-Eleches, Cristian: on judicial independence and economic freedom, 73–76 pork projects, 29–30 Posso, Alberto: on inflation and central banks, 47–48 Prescott, Ed: on real business cycle (RBC) theory, 55 prices, 87–88, 89; price controls, 84, 100 Pritchett, Lant: on “Getting to Denmark”, 169 productivity, 35 property rights, 73, 74, 75, 76 proportional representation, 151 public choice theory, 28–29 Putnam, Robert: research on trust in one’s neighbors, 159 Quarterly Journal of Economics, 50 Quek, Kai: on peace and democracy, 15–16 racially integrated schools, 65 Rauch, Jonathan: on crisis of followership, 144; on democracy, 143; influence of, 142; on party insiders, 142–43, 179; on political machines, 137, 142–43, 179; Political Realism, 142–43 Read, Carveth, 187 real business cycle (RBC) theory, 54, 55–56 real per capita GDP, 30 reciprocal altruism, 139 reform proposals: bondholders with explicit, advisory role in governance, 11, 119, 126–27, 133, 134–36; continued restrictions on voting by felons, 108–9; costs of, 20, 23, 25, 93; education requirements for voters, 96–98, 105–6, 107–8, 114–17, 188; impact on socioeconomic development, 17; longer terms for politicians, 39–40, 178, 188; and microfoundations, 25; national tax board, 61, 92–94, 143; as nonutopian, 8, 20–21, 60–61; relationship to personal morality, 187–88; risks of, 25, 94, 179; six-year term for U.S. president, 188; staggered elections, 146–47, 179; and transitional gains trap, 112–14; upper house as Sapientum, 110–12, 127 regression discontinuity design (RDD), 78–79 religious liberty, 65 rent control, 100 Republican Party, 140–41 reputation with lenders, 128–32 Rickard, Stephanie, 34–35 right to competent government, 103, 104, 109 right to health care, 103–4 Riordan, William, 137 Rocher, François, 107 Rogers, Will: on Democratic Party, 159 Rogoff, Kenneth: conservative central banker theory, 53–55, 56, 60, 86 Roosevelt, Franklin, 125 Root, Hilton: on corporations in Old Regime, 129–30; “Tying the King’s Hands”, 129–30 Rossi, Martin: on term lengths of politicians in Argentina, 37–38 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 102 rule of law, 14, 16 Samuelson, Paul: on inflation and unemployment, 43 Sargent, Thomas: on monetary policies, 44, 46 Schelker, Mark: on short terms, 31 Schulhof, Natalie: article in Fourth Estate, 1–3 Sen, Amartya: on democracies and famines, 9–11, 12, 171; Development as Freedom, 9; on minimal requirements for democracy, 11, 171 Shanmugaratnam, Tharman, 175 Shepsle, Kenneth: on voters’ short memories, 29–30 Shleifer, Andrei: on judicial independence and economic freedom, 73–76 Sims, Christopher: “Paper Money” lecture, 122 Singapore: buffet syndrome in, 20; democracy in, 170–72, 173, 174, 175–76; vs.


pages: 134 words: 41,085

The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

Admiral Zheng, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, Corn Laws, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, global pandemic, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jones Act, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, McMansion, night-watchman state, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parkinson's law, pensions crisis, QR code, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, trade route, universal basic income, Washington Consensus

In the 1950s, the movement’s center of gravity moved from Europe to Hayek’s new home, the University of Chicago, where a group of economists explained how bureaucrats, even if they were well intentioned (which they often weren’t), could do more harm than good. The loudest voice was the American economist Milton Friedman. Small, wiry, intense, Friedman attacked just about everything that the center-left held dear: foreign aid was siphoned off by dictators, rent controls reduced the supply of housing, public spending on universities forced poor people to subsidize rich ones. He was like a naughty schoolboy frightening old ladies with firecrackers. Big government would always mess things up: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand,” Friedman said. He even broke with the standard reformers’ line that we must make government more efficient on the grounds that a better government would only improve Leviathan’s ability to rob the people.

Most European countries give free university education to students who are richer than the average citizen (and then those students pocket most of the gains from their education). In America, it is mainly the well-off who read the IRS’s ninety-page booklet that explain the fifteen different tax incentives for higher education. For all the blame that unfettered capitalism took for the subprime mess, there were few more culpable organizations than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government agencies that pumped money into the housing market. Rent control has increasingly become a perk for the privileged, whether it be in Stockholm or New York. More money goes into subsidizing mortgages than social housing for the poor. This fits a pattern. No matter how much Americans moan about their government, more than half the households in the country get some kind of handout. About 120 million Americans claim benefits from two or more programs.5 And that does not count all the nonfinancial demands that the prosperous put on the state.


pages: 489 words: 132,734

A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook

Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, Potemkin village, profit motive, rent control, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, starchitect, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

In a surrender to central planning that became known as the “Bombay Plan,” the industrialists agreed to limit foreign direct investment in their companies and give the state the power to fix their prices and regulate their production—even seize their companies outright. In 1953, the government used this new authority to nationalize Tata Airways, creating Air India. Similarly, Bombay’s landlords acceded to a 1947 rent-control law, capping rents at 1940s levels and destroying the incentive for maintenance and upgrading of properties even as the population of Bombay tripled in the postindependence decades. Some economic historians remain puzzled as to why Bombay capitalists would surrender so much power to the state. But given the temper of the times, the outcome was all but inevitable. The Raj, they had to acknowledge, had been good for Bombay but bad for India.

Lacking the vast resources of the Hollywood studios, Bollywood films were often shot on the streets of Bombay rather than on backlots. The metropolis the studios presented was not the License-Permit Raj–restricted city of office clerks and public employees, but a mythic throwback to the glamorous Bombay of the Jazz Age. It was not difficult to conjure such a city, for Bombay had been physically frozen in its preindependence, cosmopolitan state. The same rent-control laws that preserved the city’s housing stock, albeit in increasing levels of decay as well-to-do homes were converted into de facto chawls, provided the city’s multinational corporate tenants with an offer they couldn’t refuse. Paramount Pictures, the Hollywood studio, maintained the same downtown office it first rented in 1933 right through the socialist period until today, all for a token rent.

So do the jobless boys playing cricket in the courtyard—and the employed boys who work construction, shoveling earth while standing atop a pile of mud in flip-flops. The popularity of these slum redevelopment projects has birthed a larger ambition to remake entire neighborhoods on the same ad hoc model, the sum of several contiguous parcel-by-parcel redevelopments. A newly passed Mumbai exemption from India’s politically untouchable rent-control rules established the neighborhood redevelopment process: if 70 percent of tenants in a building agree, a real estate developer can demolish their building and rehouse them in new apartments on-site in exchange for the opportunity to build new market-rate units. The larger the plot, the higher the developers can build, so there is an incentive to assemble large parcels out of several contiguous buildings.


pages: 356 words: 91,157

The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class?and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida

affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbine, congestion charging, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, Gini coefficient, Google bus, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, megacity, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, occupational segregation, Paul Graham, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, superstar cities, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, young professional

Not surprisingly, a 2016 study of the San Francisco Bay Area found that a combination of building more private-market-rate housing and more subsidized housing is required to address the region’s housing affordability challenge.19 There has been no shortage of proposed solutions for providing more affordable housing for those truly in need. They include expanding rent control, building more publicly subsidized housing, and making use of so-called inclusionary zoning, that is, mandating that developers construct affordable housing units in exchange for being able to build bigger, taller, high-end projects. While the aims of such policies are admirable, they can be costly and inefficient. Rent control discourages landlords from improving their properties, and it can be gamed. Inclusionary zoning works best in expensive superstar-city real estate markets where developers have incentives to build affordable units in exchange for the ability to build taller buildings.

.), 154 place-based investment, 11, 207–210 plutocratization, 6, 39 politics anti-urban bias in, 190 cities neglected in, 185–186 conservatism in, 112, 190, 204, 222 Democrats in, 163–165, 185, 211, 222 infrastructure and, 195 liberalism in, 112, 190, 222 local officials in, 213–214 New Urban Crisis Index and, 188 Republicans in, 163–165, 190, 202, 212, 222 suburban crisis influencing, 163–165 urban policy and, 185–186 See also election, US poor challenges facing, 56 segregation of, 101–103, 101 (table), 219 popular music, location of, 53–54 population growth, 18–19, 163 population size, variable of, 221 Portland, OR, 67 poverty in Baltimore, 97–98 gentrification and, 56, 59, 72–75, 77–78 in global urbanization crisis, 168–169, 172–173, 177–181 investment tackling, 11, 207–210 racially concentrated, 77–78, 98, 116–117 in suburban crisis, 155–156, 159–160 worsening, 98 Progress and Poverty (George), 194 property tax, 194–195, 208 Putnam, Robert, 122 race creative class and, 115 economic segregation and, 115–119 in Ferguson, 157–158 gentrification and, 63, 65, 75–78 poverty and, 77–78, 98, 116–117 suburbs and, 65, 152, 154 variable of, 221 Raleigh, NC, 29, 29 (fig.) real estate corporate, 39 prices, 22, 32, 38–39 refugee cities, 210–211 rent control, 201–202 rental housing, affordable, 11, 28, 199–202 rentier behavior, 25–26 Republicans, 163–165, 190, 202, 212, 222 restaurants, 76 re-urbanization, 24, 62, 73–74, 78, 190 Ricardo, David, 26, 194 Rio de Janeiro, 179 The Rise of the Creative Class (Florida), xiv, 46, 48, 115, 142 rise of the rest, 19 Rognlie, Matthew, 32 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 214 Rosen, Kenneth, 60–61 Rosen, Sherwin, 14 Rustbelt cities economic segregation in, 100–101, 119 economies of, xvii, 5 New Urban Crisis Index and, 188 Patchwork Metropolis and, 123, 137, 139, 142 Saiz, Albert, 30 Sampson, Robert, 207 San Bernardino, CA, 156 San Diego, 44 (table), 186, 187 (fig.)


pages: 279 words: 87,875

Underwater: How Our American Dream of Homeownership Became a Nightmare by Ryan Dezember

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, business cycle, call centre, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, coronavirus, corporate raider, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, interest rate swap, margin call, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, rent control, rolodex, sharing economy, sovereign wealth fund, transaction costs

A disgruntled tenant of one big company became known among reporters for the spider infestation in her rental home, for which she sought publicity and vengeance. The National Rental Home Council had shown impressive flex in California, Baldridge said. A lobbying firm it hired in Sacramento opened doors and helped it defeat legislation that would have allowed cities throughout the state to establish rent control. “Had it won, it would have allowed every city to interpret what it wants for rent control,” he said. “Not only would it open up rent control, but every city would have its nuance. To try to operate in that environment would have been crazy. What happens in California then goes all over the country, so we really wanted to take a stand there. American Homes 4 Rent and Invitation Homes played a part in pushing that back.” Another legislative proposal that the mega-landlords viewed as problematic would have added weeks to the eviction process.


Termites of the State: Why Complexity Leads to Inequality by Vito Tanzi

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Andrew Keen, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, experimental economics, financial repression, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, means of production, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, urban planning, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

Examples include rent controls, minimum wages, controls on the prices of some essential goods, rationing, 146 Termites of the State requirements for enterprises to ensure that a proportion of the workers they hire have some physical handicaps or ethnic characteristics, or requirements for universities to admit some proportion of students from minority groups. Better results might be achieved by taxing some groups while subsidizing others. However, the alternatives might not be considered politically or administratively feasible or desirable. Rent controls and similar programs may contribute to the creation of poverty traps if those who benefit from them lose the subsidy when they get a higher-paying job that disqualifies them from the benefit. A country that adopts a policy of rent controls loses national income, while the government loses tax revenue, because of the lower rental income and lower property values.

If the proper economic role of the state in a market economy requires the strong protection of property rights, held by individuals and by enterprises, as much recent economic literature has argued – see Landes (1999), North and Thomas (1973), and North and Weingast (1989) – the Italian Constitution, at least in its formal declarations, is surely reluctant to assign that role to the state. It should, thus, not be surprising that economic policies and institutions in Italy, which are, as they should be, much influenced by jurists, have developed in line with the Italian Constitution. At times, Quality of Public Sector and Legal Framework 271 they have allowed policies (such as the expropriation of land with very low or no compensation to the owners, rent controls, the occupation of privately-owned but unoccupied houses by local governments, the failure by enterprises to fire unneeded workers, and controls over interest rates. All these actions were not consistent with the principle of protection of property (see Tanzi, 2015a). This may also explain why Italy has had one of the lowest scores, in terms of “economic liberty,” among the many countries assessed by the experts of the Economic Freedom Network.

See also specific country overview, 144 abuse of, 124 adaptation to change, 282 banks and, 126 civic associations and, 130, 154 complexity of, 170–72, 278 conservative opposition to, 160, 278 consumer protection regulations, 148–50 correcting or reducing externalities through, 147 corruption and, 124, 280 creation of, 277 debates regarding, 154, 170 demand, effect on, 128–29 democracy and, 134 dependent workers and, 23 deregulation overview, 87–88 economic freedom and, 86 income redistribution and, 197 potential for future crises and, 108, 109 in US, 82 discretion and, 151–52 economic freedom, effect on, 130–31 economic impact of, 276–77 essential regulations, 280–81 evolution of, 123, 124 excessive regulations, 279 externalities and, 164, 281–82 failure of, 171–73 federalism and, 125, 126, 173, 284–85 financial institutions and, 126, 155, 157 fundamental law of, 278–79 growth, effect on, 158–59, 228 implementing regulations, 333 income redistribution and, 278 institutional reforms, 173–74 liberals and, 160 libertarian opposition to, 153–54, 278 lobbyists and, 171, 173, 280 mandated disclosures, 127–28 market-enhancing regulations, 150–51 market fundamentalism and, 158, 160 as mercantilism, 123 Musgrave on, 278 natural monopolies and, 147 negative effects of, 124, 128 “nirvana error,” 151 nuisance regulations, 144–45 occupational licensing and, 124–26 opposition to, 123, 129, 153–55, 160, 170, 278, 282–83 as policy tool, 141 politics and, 278–80 productivity, effect on, 158–59 public interest and, 131 quasi-fiscal regulations, 151 recommendations regarding, 283 “red tape,” 124, 228 rents and, 124–25 review of, 172, 284 safety-related regulations, 146–47 scientific studies and, 281 second-best regulations, 145–46 “single window” system, 284–85 social costs of, 282 social regulations, 146 urbanization, effect of, 130 Regulatory budget, 284 Regulatory capture, 129, 172–73 Relative income hypothesis, 319 Relative poverty, 216, 226–27 Religious trust in market, 37, 78, 396 Rent control, 145–46 Rents “crony capitalism” and, 112 financial institutions and, 119 financial sector and, 330 intellectual property and, 353 regulations and, 124–25 Reputational motive, 374–75 Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII), 20 Research income redistribution and, 194–97 as public good, 179–80 in US, 194–97 Rezoning, 136 441 442 Index Ricardian equivalence hypothesis, 62–64, 86–87, 394–95 Ricardo, David, 63 The Road to Serfdom (Hayek), 26–27 Rockefeller, Jay, 335 Role of government overview, 1–11 allocation of resources, 187–88, 211–12.


pages: 162 words: 51,473

The Accidental Theorist: And Other Dispatches From the Dismal Science by Paul Krugman

"Robert Solow", Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, declining real wages, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, life extension, new economy, Nick Leeson, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trade route, very high income, working poor, zero-sum game

New York’s pro-tenant policies have produced very good deals for some people, but they have also made it very hard for newcomers to find a place to live. France’s policies have produced nice work if you can get it. But many people, especially the young, can’t get it. And, given the generosity of unemployment benefits, many don’t even try. True, some problems are easy to diagnose but hard to deal with. If George Pataki can’t end rent control, why should we expect Jacques Chirac to cure Eurosclerosis? But what is mysterious about France is that as far as one can tell, absolutely nobody of consequence accepts the obvious diagnosis. On the contrary, there seems to be an emerging consensus that what France needs is—guess what?—more regulation. Socialist leader (and now prime minister) Lionel Jospin’s idea of a pro-employment policy is to require employers to pay workers the same money for fewer hours.

But to acknowledge the potential virtues of European economic integration risks missing the essential fatuousness of the whole project. France’s problem is unemployment (currently almost 13 percent). Nothing else is even remotely as important. And whatever a unified market and a common currency may or may not achieve, they will do almost nothing to create jobs. Think of it this way: Imagine that several cities, all suffering housing shortages because of rent control, agree to make it easier for landlords in one city to own buildings in another. This is not a bad idea. It might even slightly increase the supply of apartments. But it is not going to get at the heart of the problem. Yet all the grand schemes for European integration amount to no more than that. Indeed, in practice, the dream of European unity has actually made things worse. If you are going to have a common currency, everything we know suggests you should follow what Berkeley’s Barry Eichengreen calls the Nike strategy.


pages: 289

Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy by Alexandrea J. Ravenelle

"side hustle", active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, Broken windows theory, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, East Village, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Howard Zinn, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, low skilled workers, Lyft, minimum wage unemployment, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, passive income, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, precariat, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, very high income, white flight, working poor, Zipcar

The East Village led the list, with a staggering 28 percent of its units going as illegal hotel rooms on Airbnb.54 A 2015 Streeteasy report notes, “According to census data, New York City rent prices grew at almost twice the pace of income between 2000 and 2013, meaning that over time rent has taken up a much larger piece of New Yorkers’ incomes.”55 EV Grieve, an East Village blog, lists East Village residents as spending 56 percent of their incomes on market-rate rent.56 New York City has strong renter protections, but renters in other cities aren’t as lucky. In San Francisco, rent-controlled residents face the threat of owner-occupied move-ins, where an owner or immediate family member can evict a tenant in order to personally use the apartment. Although the Ellis Law, which allows landlords to leave the rental business, is a legally acceptable reason for eviction, these newly vacant apartments are often turned into Airbnb rentals, making thousands of dollars more profit each month.57 A recent Economist report on the digital revolution acknowledged the growing divide between a few lucky ones and the rest of society: “In the past new technologies have usually raised wages by boosting productivity, with the gains being split between skilled and less-skilled workers, and between owners of capital, workers and consumers.

Plaut, Melissa. 2007. Hack: How I Stopped Worrying about What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab. New York: Random House. Portes, Alejandro. 1994. “The Informal Economy and Its Paradoxes.” In Handbook of Economic Sociology, ed. Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg, 426–49. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Poston, Ben, and Andrew Khouri. 2015. “Ousted Tenants Sue after Their Former Rent-Controlled L.A. Apartments Are Listed on Airbnb.” Los Angeles Times, December 17. Potts, Monica. 2015. “The Post-ownership Society.” Washington Monthly, June–August. Price, Emily. 2016. “This ‘Uber for Dog Poop’ App Is Definitely Fake—Sorry, Sharing Economy Enthusiasts.” Fast Company, July 29. PricewaterhouseCoopers. 2015. The Sharing Economy. Consumer Intelligence Series. PricewaterhouseCoopers. April. www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/consumer-intelligence-series/sharing-economy.html.

See also piecemeal system race issues: digital divide and, 193; discrimination, 35–36, 193; race of chefs, 59; race of TaskRabbit workers, 56; segregation, 119; vulnerability categories, 193–94 Ravenelle, Alexandrea, 194 Reagan, Ronald, 178 recession effects, 26–27 recession of 1981–1982, 178 recirculation of goods, 27 recruitment: by Kitchensurfing, 57, 58–59; by Uber, 50 redress options, 6, 22 registration requirements, 222–23n64 regulation issues, 37 regulatory issues, 50 RelayRides, 33 rental cars, 2, 5 rentals: in East Village, 41, 129; Ellis Law, 41; landlord-tenant disputes, 13; long-term rentals, 39, 39–41; necessity of shared rentals, 132; rent-controlled residents, 41; renter protections, 41; short-term rentals, 19–20, 40, 149–50. See also Airbnb repeat business: Kitchensurfing Tonight, 58; TaskRabbit, 56, 80 research methodology: case studies, 7; critical perspective and, 7–8; Hawthorne effect, 232n24; interview matrix, 216–17; participant recruitment and methodology, 21–22, 223n85, 225n34, 228n30, 229n5; service platforms, 7 response rates, 1, 78–79, 81–82, 160 retirement funds: access to, 190; as contributory plans, 37; decreases in, 9; productivity and, 190; sharing economy and, 94, 156; temporary workers lack of, 180; use of, 61 reviews, negative, 4 review systems: customer review sites, 26; employee monitoring and, 204–5; negative reviews, 4, 13, 91, 143; transfer between sites, 20 Rideshare Guy website, 76 ride-sharing, 223n75, 233n72 risks: overview, 22; mitigation of, 170; as transaction costs, 27 risk shifts: overview, 31, 36–38; advanced planning and, 97–100; assumption of risk, 92; dangers of driving for hire, 101–4; entrepreneurship and, 36–37; financial risks, 37; financial sustainability, 31; marketing of self, 181; risk reduction, 27 Robinson, Spottswood, 119 Rockefeller family, 68–69 Rodriguez, Ydanis, 51 Rogers, Jackie Krasas, 122 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 70 Russell, Mike, 189 safety issues: overview, 113; background screening mechanisms, 113–15; pedestrian dangers, 228n32; yellow taxicab standards, 227n16 Santander Bank, 3, 73 Sapone, Marcela, 187–89 Sasso, Anthony, 58 scams: overview, 23; overpayment scams, 148–49; platforms misuse and, 141–42 Scharf, Michael, 109, 189–90, 192 schedules: client response rates and, 84; computerized scheduling systems, 180; flexibility in, 207; just-in-time scheduling, 179, 180–81; long, 5 scheduling availability, 1, 62, 87 Schierenbeck, Warren, 58–59 Schoar, Antoinette, 38 Schor, Juliet, 16, 26, 27, 56, 100, 183, 194, 224n1 Schultz, Ken, 191 Schumpeter, Joseph A., 207 scientific management, 178 Scott, Marvin, 124 secondary labor market, defined, 37 secondhand economy companies, 27, 28fig. 2.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Berlin Wall, Burning Man, Donner party, East Village, illegal immigration, index card, medical residency, pre–internet, rent control, Saturday Night Live, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

It was a staircase for killing someone and making it seem like an accident. Our downstairs neighbor was a toothless man, somewhere in his eighties or nineties. He lived with what seemed like two younger male relatives, with “younger” meaning in their sixties. In the dead of summer or winter they would wear those ribbed white tank tops grossly named wife beaters, which is how we knew they were rent-control tenants (if anyone wears year-round wife beaters, it is the same as saying they are enjoying the benefits of a rent-controlled apartment). They also spoke a language with one another that seemed like a hybridized version of an Eastern European language and the incomprehensible mumble of Dick Tracy henchmen. They would’ve been frightening, except they were incredibly timid and scared of us for some reason. Like when that monster in the Bugs Bunny cartoon gets scared of a mouse and runs screaming all the way back to his castle.


pages: 590 words: 153,208

Wealth and Poverty: A New Edition for the Twenty-First Century by George Gilder

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, cleantech, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, Gunnar Myrdal, Home mortgage interest deduction, Howard Zinn, income inequality, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, medical malpractice, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, non-fiction novel, North Sea oil, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, price stability, Ralph Nader, rent control, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, volatility arbitrage, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, yield curve, zero-sum game

Black government officials can live wherever they like, and indeed the movement of wealthy blacks into supposedly exclusive suburbs has been proceeding without much notice for the last decades. But the movement of welfare blacks into the communities of middle or lower middle-class whites or blacks is an act of social disruption, particularly if done by the subterfuge of rent or mortgage subsidies. These policies are self-fulfilling prophecies of racism. In a housing market distorted by rent controls, affirmative action, and other devices, the middle class, in defense of its chief financial and social assets, takes the safest course—hostility to all government projects threatening the neighborhood. In the process, many apparent opportunities arise for journalists and reporters to “prove” the false liberal hypothesis that racism still prevails in American society. What prevails in the United States and in every other country—and notably prevails within the liberal and bureaucratic intelligentsia from the moment they have children—is the desire for economically homogeneous communities, where there is no fear of being robbed, mugged, or balefully resented.

Subsidies and tax benefits for the purchase of pollution-control equipment broadly distribute the costs of combating environmental damage inflicted and often suffered by the few. Much of the activity of the Department of Energy comprises an attempt to disperse through the entire country effects of energy scarcity that would otherwise fall most heavily on a small number of vulnerable constituencies. Rent controls attempt to diffuse the effects of urban housing scarcity and rising costs. The result of all this activity by both the public and private sectors—shifting, diffusing, equalizing, concealing, shuffling, smoothing, evading, relegating, and collectivizing the real risks and costs of economic change—is to desensitize the economy. It no longer responds so well to the bad news of scarcity and disequilibrium—the high prices that signal new opportunities—and no longer provides so dependably the good news of creativity, invention, and entrepreneurship.

A government preoccupied with the statistics of crisis will often find itself subsidizing problems, shoring up essentially morbid forms of economic and social activity, creating incentives for unemployment, inflation, family disorder, housing decay, and municipal deficits, making problems worse by making them profitable. As government grows, there all too quickly comes a time when solutions are less profitable than problems. Throughout the Washington of the seventies, behind the inevitable rhetoric of innovation and progress, the facades of futurity, the forces of obstruction gathered: an energy department imposing counterproductive new taxes and price controls; a department of housing promoting rent controls; even a National Center for Productivity forced to celebrate the least productive of all unions per man hour—the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Despite his best intentions, the government planner will tend to live in the past, for only the past is sure and calculable. In response to the inevitable crises of scarcity, he will prescribe, as progress, a series of faintly disguised anachronisms: a revival of bicycles, a renaissance of consumer cooperatives, a new federal scheme of price controls, a massive return to coal, or a recrudescence of small-lot farming and windmills.


pages: 525 words: 153,356

The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 by Selina Todd

call centre, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, credit crunch, deindustrialization, deskilling, different worldview, Downton Abbey, financial independence, full employment, income inequality, longitudinal study, manufacturing employment, Neil Kinnock, New Urbanism, Red Clydeside, rent control, Right to Buy, rising living standards, sexual politics, strikebreaker, The Spirit Level, unemployed young men, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, young professional

In the summer of 1958 race riots erupted in the inner-city district of St Ann’s, Nottingham, and in London’s Notting Hill. One catalyst was the lack of housing. In 1957 the government had passed a Rent Act that removed all rent controls from unfurnished properties with a rateable value in excess of £40. Landlords could also have rent controls removed from empty properties worth less than £40. Ministers argued that this would give more impetus to the private housing market and encourage landlords to reinvigorate those inner-city areas where people still wanted to live. In reality, profiteering landlords flourished, among them, London’s infamous Peter Rachman, who bought up dilapidated houses, evicted white tenants, kept the accommodation empty in order to have rent controls removed, and then took on recent immigrants as new tenants. At a time when black migrants found it hard to get housing, Rachman was able to charge them exorbitant rents for overcrowded and insanitary conditions.44 In the summer of 1958 the shortage of affordable housing was one reason behind the frustration of those white youths who launched violent attacks on local black residents.45 Both St Ann’s and Notting Hill housed a large number of young white men who were either unemployed or employed in low-paid casual work; not only were they missing out on housing, but on any sign of post-war affluence.

When the Leeds Education Authority began consultation on Crosland’s plan, ‘we formed the Chapeltown Parents’ Association to fight … schools were changing to comprehensive to give the children a better chance.’11 During the 1970s the proportion and number of working-class university students increased for the first time since the 1930s.12 Other changes directly affected adult workers. Between 1964 and 1970 the Labour government built more council houses than the Conservatives had managed in the previous ten years, and reintroduced rent controls into the private sector.13 People could afford to fill their homes with new domestic appliances. In 1960 less than one-third of British households had possessed a fridge or a washing machine; by 1970 more than half did.14 Many working-class people experienced something approaching affluence for the first time. The change was particularly noticeable in the industrial heartlands of northern England, Clydeside and South Wales which had missed out on the prosperity of the 1950s.


pages: 935 words: 267,358

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, twin studies, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

Given the high level of German saving, this low level of German wealth compared to other European countries is to some extent a paradox, which may be transitory and can be explained as follows.4 The first factor to consider is the low price of real estate in Germany compared to other European countries, which can be explained in part by the fact that the sharp price increases seen everywhere else after 1990 were checked in Germany by the effects of German reunification, which brought a large number of low-cost houses onto the market. To explain the discrepancy over the long term, however, we would need more durable factors, such as stricter rent control. FIGURE 4.4. Private and public capital in Europe, 1870–2010 The fluctuations of national capital in Europe in the long run are mostly due to the fluctuations of private capital. Sources and series: see piketty.pse.ens.fr/capital21c. In any case, most of the gap between Germany on the one hand and France and Britain on the other stems not from the difference in the value of the housing stock but rather from the difference in the value of other domestic capital, and primarily the capital of firms (see Figure 4.1).

Remember that all forms of wealth are evaluated in terms of market prices at a given point in time. This introduces an element of arbitrariness (markets are often capricious), but it is the only method we have for calculating the national capital stock: how else could one possibly add up hectares of farmland, square meters of real estate, and blast furnaces? In the postwar period, housing prices stood at historic lows, owing primarily to rent control policies that were adopted nearly everywhere in periods of high inflation such as the early 1920s and especially the 1940s. Rents rose less sharply than other prices. Housing became less expensive for tenants, while landlords earned less on their properties, so real estate prices fell. Similarly, the value of firms, that is, the value of the stock of listed firms and shares of partnerships, fell to relatively low levels in the 1950s and 1960s.

Public debt rose sharply in the United States due to the cost of waging war, especially during World War II, and this affected national saving in a period of economic instability: the euphoria of the 1920s gave way to the Depression of the 1930s. (Cameron tells us that the odious Hockley commits suicide in October 1929.). Under Franklin D. Roosevelt, moreover, the United States adopted policies designed to reduce the influence of private capital, such as rent control, just as in Europe. After World War II, real estate and stock prices stood at historic lows. When it came to progressive taxation, the United States went much farther than Europe, possibly demonstrating that the goal there was more to reduce inequality than to eradicate private property. No sweeping policy of nationalization was attempted, although major public investments were initiated in the 1930s and 1940s, especially in infrastructures.


pages: 204 words: 63,571

You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black

Albert Einstein, fear of failure, life extension, placebo effect, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), upwardly mobile

Then she starts enumerating all the reasons why it “makes more sense” for us to live together: it would be fun and easier and we would get to spend more time together, and more than anything, because she loves me. She is so full of shit. I mean, I do believe that she loves me but that’s not why she wants to move in together. She wants to move in with me because I have a rent-controlled apartment, which is New York City’s greatest and rarest treasure. Having a rent-controlled apartment in New York is like living in medieval Europe and having spices. “I really like living alone,” I repeat. The last couple years have been the first time in my life that I’ve lived alone. I love it. Even though Martha and I really do spend most of our time together, having my own place means knowing that at any moment of my choosing I can ask her to get the hell out, and she will have to do it, as once happened when I walked in on her reading my journal.


pages: 376 words: 118,542

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, bank run, banking crisis, business cycle, Corn Laws, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, invisible hand, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Sam Peltzman, school vouchers, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration

New Yorkers naturally sought to blame outside forces for their problem, but as Ken Auletta wrote in a recent book, New York "was not compelled to create a vast municipal hospital or City University system, to continue free tuition, institute open enrollment, ignore budget limitations, impose the steepest taxes in the nation, borrow beyond its means, subsidize middle-income housing, continue rigid rent controls, reward municipal workers with lush pension, pay and fringe benefits." He quips, "Goaded by liberalism's compassion and ideological commitment to the redistribution of wealth, New York officials helped redistribute much of the tax base and thousands of jobs out of New York." 8 One fortunate circumstance was that New York City has no power to issue money. It could not use inflation as a means of taxation and thus postpone the evil day.

He deplored also the effect of the public housing developments on juvenile delinquency and on the neighborhood schools, which were disproportionately filled with children from broken families. Recently we heard a similar evaluation of public housing from a leader of a "sweat-equity" housing project in the South Bronx, New York. The area looks like a bombed-out city, with many buildings abandoned as a result of rent control and others destroyed by riots. The "sweat-equity" group has undertaken to rehabilitate an area of these abandoned buildings by their own efforts into housing that they can subsequently occupy. Initially they received outside help only in the form of a few private grants. More recently they have also been receiving some assistance from government. When we asked our respondent why his group adopted their arduous approach rather than simply moving into public housing, he gave an answer like the one we had heard in Los Angeles, with the added twist that building and owning their own homes would give the participants in the project a sense of pride in their homes that would lead them to maintain them properly.

An FTC staff policy briefing book finds that the main thrust seems to come from people who make money building housing—contractors, bankers, labor unions, materials suppliers, etc. After the housing is built, the government and these various "constituencies" take less interest in it. So the FTC has been getting complaints about the quality of housing built under federal programs, about leaky roofs, inadequate plumbing, bad foundations, etc.19 In the meantime, even where it was not deliberately destroyed, low-priced rental housing deteriorated because of rent control and similar measures. Medical Care Medicine is the latest welfare field in which the role of government has been exploding. State and local governments, and to a lesser extent the federal government, have long had a role in public health (sanitation, contagious diseases, etc.) and in provision of hospital facilities. In addition, the federal government has provided medical care for the military and veterans.


pages: 323 words: 111,561

Digging Up Mother: A Love Story by Doug Stanhope

call centre, index card, pre–internet, rent control, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, telemarketer

I had two more months of road dates to finish first. On December 13, 1995 I officially moved to L.A., almost three years to the day that I began living out of my car. 15 The Big Time I STAYED WITH MITCH AND JANA IN WEST HOLLYWOOD FOR A short time while I looked for a place of my own. Jana said she had a friend who had a place opening up in her building just a few blocks away—and it was rent-controlled. To this day I still don’t have any idea what rent-controlled means legally but I know it equals cheap as fuck. I looked at the place, a one-bedroom in West Hollywood, walking distance to all the comedy clubs. It was perfect. It was also only $410 a month. I gave them six months up front just to secure it. Between thrift stores and the Dollar Store, I was set up in days. I had a TV, a VCR, a bed, a chair, and a desk. I had my own food in my own refrigerator.

Now I had a whole world of comics and comedy clubs, bars and parties, girls and a girlfriend on the side. I had meetings and lunches for fuck’s sake! Can’t be hanging around the homestead farming cats! I got shit going on! I stayed away as much as possible. I had a good amount of road work that summer, giving her time to settle in on her own and figure out the neighborhood. In July, I got a hand job from God. The apartment two doors down was opening up and it was also rent-controlled. I jumped on it. Not only was it vagrant-cheap, but I was still within shouting distance from Mother. And still she couldn’t understand why I’d want to move out when I’d still be literally 25 feet away. I think she liked cock-blocking me from Khrystyne. The sad fact was that I had to ask Khrystyne for the money to move in. It killed me but she knew it was a miracle find and we probably hadn’t had a place to fuck since Mother got there.


pages: 182 words: 64,847

Working by Robert A. Caro

carbon footprint, desegregation, ghettoisation, rent control, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty

Up until the day—December 4, 1952—on which the eviction notices signed by “Robert Moses, City Construction Coordinator” and giving the recipients ninety days to move, arrived, East Tremont had been a low-income but stable community of sixty thousand persons, predominantly Jewish but with sizable Irish and German populations. Its residents had been poor—pressers, finishers, and cutters in the downtown garment district—and their apartment houses were old, some without elevators and almost all with aging plumbing. But the rooms were big and high-ceilinged—“light, airy, spacious” was how the residents described them to me—and the apartment houses were precious to the people who lived in them, because, rent-controlled as they were, their residents could afford, so long as they kept them, to live in their community. As long as they had those apartments, they had a lot—a sense of community and continuity; in some of those buildings, two and three generations of the same families were living; young couples who moved away often moved back. “The reason we moved back to that area was that we loved it so much,” said one young woman who had moved back shortly before the notices came.

East Tremont had, of course, been cut in half by the road, and the southern half was isolated from the shopping area along East Tremont Avenue, and it was hard for the remaining residents to get to stores. The residents of the apartment houses that bordered the mile-long excavation on both sides—perhaps one hundred buildings—began to move out, and as more and more moved one of the principal reasons for staying—friends who lived near you—began to vanish, and so did the sense of community. Still more tenants disappeared from East Tremont. Some landlords were happy to see them leave the rent-controlled apartments, and replaced them with welfare families, who demanded fewer services and moved more often, so that rents could be raised more often. The gyre of urban decay spiraled and widened, faster and faster, and more and more residents began to move. East Tremont became a vast slum. I spent many days and weeks, terrible days and weeks, walking around that slum. I had never, in my sheltered middle-class life, descended so deeply into the realms of despair.


pages: 388 words: 125,472

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, housing crisis, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Dyson, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Neil Kinnock, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing, union organizing, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent

‘You can really feel like you’ve spent all your life trying to get to this place where power is, only to find it isn’t there,’ says Philip Collins, recalling the painfully slow process of implementing policies. But, because of Thatcher’s overwhelming success at eliminating opposition, today’s civil service shares the dominant Establishment mentalities. When, after the Labour landslide of 1997, Labour MP Angela Eagle became a junior minister in the Blair government, she suggested imposing rent controls as a solution to the ever-growing amount of taxpayers’ money being spent on housing benefit, increasingly lining the pockets of landlords. Eagle described the response from civil servants, a nebulous ‘sort of official line’. She was, she remembers, told ‘loftily’ that her proposal ‘would be against the Human Rights Act’ – much to her bewilderment. Eagle didn’t understand how this could possibly infringe the Act – and said so.

Throughout 2013, polls consistently gave Labour a solid lead in the opinion polls, with the Conservatives generally languishing at between 28 per cent and 33 per cent. And yet most mainstream newspapers remained supportive of the Conservative-led government, which gave the lie to any idea that they were simply the mouthpieces of British public opinion. While polls consistently demonstrated that a large majority of the British public wanted, say, renationalization of the railways, energy and the utilities; rent controls; the introduction of a living wage; and increased taxes on the rich – no mainstream newspaper endorsed such calls. Quite the reverse. The media is almost entirely committed to Establishment policies and ideas, which they attempt to popularize for a mass audience. The tax-avoiding Barclay Brothers – Britain’s richest media figures – gain their formidable power through the Daily Telegraph. When I visit the London Victoria headquarters of this traditionalist conservative newspaper, I half-expect to walk through a time portal into the 1950s.

Its voters are – for the most part – certainly not über-Thatcherite Tories in exile; indeed, according to polls, they are considerably less likely to support austerity and cuts to the welfare state than Tory voters. But astonishingly, on many issues, UKIP voters are more radical than the British public as a whole. One YouGov poll found that 78 per cent of UKIP voters supported public ownership of energy companies (compared to 68 per cent of all voters); 73 per cent wanted the railways renationalized (as against 66 per cent); 50 per cent advocated rent controls (the wider figure was 45 per cent); and an astounding 40 per cent believed in price controls on food and groceries, compared to 35 per cent of all Britons.3 What does this tell us? On the one hand, the Establishment has such little public support that even voters for a fiercely right-wing party find themselves, on economic issues, dramatically to its left. Equally, it can be seen as a damning indictment of the Labour Party, as well as radical opponents of the Establishment.


World Cities and Nation States by Greg Clark, Tim Moonen

active transport: walking or cycling, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, business climate, cleantech, congestion charging, corporate governance, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, financial independence, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global supply chain, global value chain, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, open economy, Pearl River Delta, rent control, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stem cell, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, zero-sum game

Available at http://www. financialexpress.com/article/economy/cabinet‐approves‐niif‐structure/110417/. Accessed 2016 Feb 9. The Indian Express (2014). Urban issues higher on agenda compared to rural in state assembly. Available at http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/urban‐issues‐higher‐on‐agenda‐ compared‐to‐rural‐in‐state‐assembly/. Accessed 2016 Feb 9. The Indian Express (2016). Govt seeks to amend Rent Control Act to keep out larger houses. The Indian Express. Available at http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/govt‐ seeks‐to‐amend‐rent‐control‐act‐to‐keep‐out‐larger‐houses/#sthash.okQXJPrV.dpuf. Accessed 2016 Feb 9. 256 References The Times of India (2014). Govt plans to attract private players to help develop Smart Cities. The Times of India. Available at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india‐business/ Govt‐plans‐to‐attract‐private‐players‐to‐help‐develop‐Smart‐Cities/articleshow/44735719. cms.

Mumbai’s metro extensions are to be half financed by the state of Maharashtra, with the remaining capital supplied by international financial institutions (for example, the Asian Development Bank) and potentially Japanese government assistance. Central government assistance is currently not on the table, but could come later in the construc­ tion phase. The centre has also taken steps to tackle the housing market, by partially phasing out rent controls. These have long been associated with a stagnant housing market with a low investment and maintenance rate and low supply level. The new bill to be enacted by the states (Maharashtra included) is, however, contentious as it makes middle class tenants vulnerable to price increases, while the strengths of safeguards for poorer families are unclear (Nair, 2015; Phadke, 2015a, 2015b; Bonislawski, 2016; Lewis, 2016; The Indian Express, 2016).


pages: 777 words: 186,993

Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

addicted to oil, affirmative action, Airbus A320, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, distributed generation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, knowledge economy, land reform, light touch regulation, LNG terminal, load shedding, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, pension reform, Potemkin village, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, smart grid, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

And city development has become both opaque and ad hoc—as when governments in Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore up and conduct demolition drives on encroachments every few years but fail to enforce building regulations the rest of the time. Our “unintended cities” By the 1970s a pork-barrel politico could not have had it better in the city. A series of well-meaning but horribly counterproductive laws passed during this decade, which gave an immense leg up to interest groups in the city. The rent-control legislation and the Urban Land Ceiling Act had effects that, in the best of socialist tradition, were just the opposite of what they had intended. The rent act, by stating minimal leasing periods and strict eviction limits, basically gave renters carte blanche to squat and quickly took unoccupied housing off the market, and the land ceiling act shifted large amounts of land into the illegal market.

The national mission on urban change eventually took shape with the JNNURM, and our experience with the BATF helped us a great deal while helping shape reforms toward improving disclosure laws for urban bodies, strengthening citizen participation, introducing more effective financial accounting and aligning city organizations better. The urban renewal mission has a provision of Rs 500 billion, and adding in the contribution of states and municipalities, the amount goes up to Rs 1250 billion over a seven-year period. The JNNURM has also adopted an effective carrot approach, man-dating various reform preconditions for states, including changing rent control and land ceiling acts, overhauling urban property-tax systems and rationalizing stamp duties, in order to access its development funds. Our urban consciousness “You can sense it in the air,” Swati tells me, “there is a new concern, both in the government and the private sector around city growth. The local bodies are flush with JNNURM money, and there is a new interest in our urban issues.”

Vinayak heads the consultancy Feedback Ventures Ltd and has years of experience working with the government and private sector on infrastructure issues. Land has been an especially charged concern in our politics. The 1950s and 1960s land reforms had failed across most of the country with the exception of Kerala and West Bengal. The landowning zamindars were politically powerful, and in most states the loopholes in the legislation had made the reforms largely impotent. At the same time, rent control policies imposed massive restrictions on urban land, taking it off the market. The 1950s controls around land markets only grew worse when Indira introduced land ceilings and limits on the height of buildings in the mid-1970s. These laws, as Vinayak notes, single-handedly exacerbated overcrowding and lack of urban space in India several times over. By the mid-1980s, India had the highest percentage of population in the world unable to afford housing, and a growing number of landless poor were improvising their own houses out of bits of cardboard, tin and plastic on illegal land.


pages: 275 words: 77,955

Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, Corn Laws, Deng Xiaoping, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, liquidity trap, market friction, minimum wage unemployment, price discrimination, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing

., that cannot, so far as I can see, validly be justified in terms of the principles outlined above: 1. Parity price support programs for agriculture. 2. Tariffs on imports or restrictions on exports, such as current oil import quotas, sugar quotas, etc. 3. Governmental control of output, such as through the farm program, or through prorationing of oil as is done by the Texas Railroad Commission. 4. Rent control, such as is still practiced in New York, or more general price and wage controls such as were imposed during and just after World War II. 5. Legal minimum wage rates, or legal maximum prices, such as the legal maximum of zero on the rate of interest that can be paid on demand deposits by commercial banks, or the legally fixed maximum rates that can be paid on savings and time deposits. 6. Detailed regulation of industries, such as the regulation of transportation by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

See vocational schooling proletariat, 197 property rights, 26–27, 34, 127, 162 proportional representation, 15, 23; regarding spending for education, 94–95; vs. indivisible issues, 23 public housing programs, 36, 177, 178–80, 181; special interests dominating, 179–80; unintended consequences of, 179–80, 198 public monopoly, 28, 29 public school system, 91, 92, 93, 97, 118. See also schooling Puritans, 108 Quakers, 108 quotas, import, 9, 35, 65, 66–67, 74, 139, 182, 198 racial integration, 100 n. railroads, 29, 35, 123, 126, 156, 197 recession, 76, 78 registration, 144, 145–46, 149 regulation, industry, 35, 38 rent control, 35 “right-to-work” laws, 115–17 riparian rights, 27 Road to Serfdom, The (Hayek), 11 roadways, 30–31, 36, 125, 199 Rome, 10 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 59 royalties, 27 Russia, 7–8, 20, 59, 164, 169, 196, 197, 101–2 salaries, teacher, 93–94, 95–96 Schacht, Hjalmar, 57 schooling, 85–98; and citizenship, 86, 88, 90, 96, 98, 199; conformity as result of, 94, 95, 97; denationalization of, 91; effect of competition on, 93; effect of teacher salaries on, 93–94; for-profit institutions of, 89; governmental administration of, 85, 87, 89, 90, 94, 95, 97, 98, 117; government funding of, 85, 86–88, 90, 93–94, 95; nonprofit funding of, 85, 89; and segregation, 117–18; subsidies for, 87 88–89, voucher system of, 89, 90, 91–98 Schumpeter, Joseph, 5 n.


pages: 283 words: 81,163

How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present by Thomas J. Dilorenzo

banking crisis, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, means of production, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Norman Mailer, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, wealth creators, working poor, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

It is not surprising, then, that progress against poverty in America stopped and reversed itself at precisely the moment when the federal government declared “war” on it.5 Government-directed social engineering fails mainly because human beings cannot be manipulated like so many mathematical symbols. Human beings are rational, thinking actors who react to changes in government policy. Thus the government’s social engineering often follows the Law of Unintended Consequences. Rent-control laws, for example, are designed to help the poor by holding down the price of housing, but these laws artificially stimulate the demand for rental housing while reducing its supply, which causes housing shortages. And usually the poor suffer most from such shortages. Likewise, minimum-wage laws designed to help low-income workers force wages up above the levels set by supply and demand, which makes it uneconomical for employers to keep those low-income workers.

That is, the American founders wanted to protect capitalism (though the word was not even coined at that time). Several key parts of the Constitution, adopted in 1789, provided important safeguards. The Contract Clause, for example, prohibited any laws abridging freedom of contract (“No state shall . . . pass any . . . law impairing the Obligation of Contracts”). Though it is no longer very well enforced—minimum-wage laws, rent control laws, virtually all of employment law, antitrust regulation, and the American regulatory state in general all violate the clause—this perversion of the law took many decades to accomplish. For the founders, this freedom was essential, for they understood that property rights would not be secure without some mechanism to enforce the sanctity of contracts. John Adams’s views were typical of the founding generation’s: “The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”13 In addition, the Commerce Clause outlawed protectionist tariffs in interstate commerce, thereby making the country a free-trade zone, and the Constitution also prohibited export taxes to encourage international commerce.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

Like his boss, Kenna, Steven was an American war veteran. With that he was gone, along with my hopes of moving in to the city’s best Bitcoin playpen. * * * Although I envied them from my dark and squalid quarters, the San Francisco longtimers who lived in rent-controlled apartments were in situations nearly as precarious—and certainly more sympathetic—than my own. I met a musician, a young lesbian bohemian who performed on streets and in clubs and organized a backyard concert series called the Garden Sessions. Her name was Julie Indelicato, and she lived in a $600 rent-controlled apartment in the Mission. When I first met her, Julie was terrified that her landlord would evict her and sell the building so that it could be rented out at six times the price to white techie colonizers such as myself. She was thinking of moving out to spare herself the pain of an eviction proceeding.


pages: 286 words: 87,168

Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World by Jason Hickel

air freight, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate personhood, COVID-19, David Graeber, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gender pay gap, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, land reform, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, passive income, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, quantitative easing, rent control, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, universal basic income

When it comes to human welfare, it’s not income as such that matters. It’s what that income can buy, in terms of access to the things we need to live well. It’s the ‘welfare purchasing power’ of income that counts. Trying to run a household on $30,000 in the United States would be a struggle. You can forget sending your kids to a decent university. But the exact same income in Finland, where people enjoy universal healthcare and education and rent controls, would feel luxurious. By expanding people’s access to public services and other commons, we can improve the welfare purchasing power of people’s incomes, enabling flourishing lives for all without needing any additional growth. Justice is the antidote to the growth imperative – and key to solving the climate crisis. This means fundamentally reversing the economic policies that have dominated for the past forty years.

Meanwhile, wages in London have not kept pace – not even close. To cover the gap, ordinary Londoners have had to either work longer hours or take out loans (which represent a claim on their future labour), just to access a basic social good they used to be able to get for a fraction of the cost. In other words, as house prices have soared, the welfare purchasing power of Londoners’ incomes has declined. Now, imagine we drive rents down with permanent rent controls (a policy that 74% of British people happen to support38). Prices would still be outrageously high, but suddenly Londoners would be able to work and earn less than they presently do without any loss to their quality of life. Indeed, they would gain in terms of extra time to spend with family, hanging out with friends, and doing things they love. We could do the same thing with other goods that are essential to people’s well-being.


pages: 868 words: 147,152

How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, financial deregulation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, land tenure, large denomination, liberal capitalism, market fragmentation, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, passive investing, purchasing power parity, rent control, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Ronald Coase, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, working-age population

Japan operated a more repressive regime in Korea in the face of greater political opposition to her rule than she faced in Taiwan. By the end of the colonial era in 1945, Japanese interests owned about one-fifth of all Korean land and the majority of farmers were pure tenants. The American Military Government (AMG) that became the occupying force in South Korea from September 1945 instituted rent controls and requirements for written leases on previously Japanese-controlled land. However the US military governor, General Archer L. Lerch, was not disposed to land reform, regarding it as a socialist policy; his concern was to keep the Soviets north of the 38th parallel and to suppress communism in the south. The attentions of pro-land reform US liberals in Washington, meanwhile, were focused on Japan.

The promotion of fertiliser use and the introduction of new seed varieties also led to impressive increases in yields, and real per capita income in agriculture probably doubled under the Japanese occupation.46 However, as in Japan, tenancy tended to increase in the run-up to the Second World War; rents, if anything, were higher than in Japan – reaching 70 per cent of output for high-quality land, with frequent demands for payment in advance and for high minimum rents irrespective of the size of the year’s crop. Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang government, which could see the end of the civil war coming well before its formal defeat, introduced legislation on Taiwan to limit rents to 37.5 per cent of crops at the beginning of 1949. The Kuomintang had just started working with the American-sponsored JCRR on the mainland, and Taiwan rent control represented an act of ingratiation towards the rural population of an island that was not universally thrilled by the idea that the Nationalist military and political machine might be coming to stay. Landlords were also required to sign written tenancy agreements of a minimum of six years, under which the requirements for repossession of land were onerous. Beginning in 1951, the Nationalists offered a second prize to Taiwan’s rural constituency by starting the sell-off of lands confiscated from former Japanese owners.

.), Development’s Displacements: Ecologies, Economies, and Cultures at Risk (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2007). The Act set up an Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO), which ever since has concentrated on distribution of publicly owned lands, most of which are already occupied by squatters. This is consistent with the focus on public lands in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia instead of actual redistribution of existing private agricultural land. Similarly, a 1974 Land Rent Control Act in Thailand was generally not enforced because of opposition from landlords and local government officials. 108. Pasuk and Baker, Thailand, p. 45. 109. Note that the delta and central plain areas are not themselves particularly fertile by south-east Asian standards. Their heavy clay soils are much less agriculture-friendly than other parts of the region. 110. Thailand’s Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC) was set up in 1966.


pages: 444 words: 151,136

Endless Money: The Moral Hazards of Socialism by William Baker, Addison Wiggin

Andy Kessler, asset allocation, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, break the buck, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, debt deflation, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, fiat currency, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, housing crisis, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, McMansion, mega-rich, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, naked short selling, negative equity, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, reserve currency, riskless arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, stocks for the long run, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, time value of money, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra, young professional

Further aiding Finland and the entire Nordic region was secular growth for paper and timber necessary to fuel a revival in housing that swept through Britain beginning in the 1930s.26 According to Arthur Lewis: “There is a housing boom in Britain about once every 20 or 30 years, and it seems to occur whether prices and interest rates are rising or falling, or whatever is happening to the terms of trade. A boom was due some time in the 1920’s, and was delayed, mainly through the affects of rent control in keeping rents below costs. After the fall in prices, this factor ceased to operate, and the boom probably would have come about even if interest rates had not fallen.”27 The next big impetus for Nordic outperformance of the world economies was the quick return of Germany to health and its rearmament. It had been shut out of world markets since before World War I, seeing its share of global exports tumble from 13.1 percent to 9.7 percent from 1913 to 1929.

This implies an injection of $144 billion compared to a total of $1,556 billion in their portfolios as of July 2008. But more might follow, and the December 2009 deadline for cleaning up the companies might need to be extended if the real estate market remains in oversupply. The real estate market had dropped about 25 percent through yearend 2008, and the thesis popular in mid-2009 that the economy had bottomed out is highly dependent upon no further decrease in value. The New Rent Control What is missed by most observers is that interest rates outside the government-subsidized market have risen sharply and may continue to remain high for two reasons. The mortgage rate seen earlier in this decade was at a generational low, in part because of Fed policy. Additionally, this cycle is the first in the postwar era that has exhibited falling prices, and as a result credit quality has become an issue.

Additionally, this cycle is the first in the postwar era that has exhibited falling prices, and as a result credit quality has become an issue. Rates on jumbo loans, which are not guaranteed by the GSEs, climbed to nearly 8 percent by year-end 2008, thus standing some 3 to 4 percent above the subsidized rate. The socialization of credit has caused a tremendous bifurcation in the market unseen before. It is reminiscent of other dysfunctional markets, such as the New York City housing market, where rent controls created artificial shortages, discouraged investment, repair, and rehabilitation, and led to oddities such as millionaires over the age of 50 living for decades in subsidized one-bedroom apartments while 20-somethings and young families were priced out of the market or paid well over 50 percent of their income for rent. By linking mortgage rates implicitly 220 ENDLESS MONEY to income brackets, the GSEs now supplement the progressive tax rate mechanism of the IRS.


pages: 309 words: 96,434

Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty First Century City by Anna Minton

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, call centre, crack epidemic, credit crunch, deindustrialization, East Village, energy security, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, ghettoisation, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kickstarter, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, race to the bottom, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Spirit Level, trickle-down economics, University of East Anglia, urban decay, urban renewal, white flight, white picket fence, World Values Survey, young professional

The government continually pledges to increase the amount of social housing built and has announced that councils will finally be allowed to build again, but given the current figures and the sheer amount lost, this is unlikely to make a significant difference. The other market policy which was facilitated by the Tories but really came into its own under New Labour was the provision of public housing through the private rented market. In 1988 the Conservatives deregulated all lettings and ended nearly seventy years of rent control. In the mid 1990s a new form of mortgage finance, the ‘buy-to-let’ mortgage, was introduced. This was aimed specifically at investors who wanted to buy properties for the purpose of renting them out. The result today is that ‘buy-to-let’ makes up nearly a third of the private rented sector. In a typical blurring of terms, when the government talks of the private rented sector, they rarely distinguish between homes let to young professionals in their twenties, whose lifestyles are well suited to short-term renting, and the phenomenon of providing public housing through this market, which has come about because of the lack of social housing.

Although severely depleted, the size of the public housing sector also remains relatively large, leaving housing polarized between two monolithic blocks. In continental Europe, on the other hand, there are many options, including private renting and cooperative housing, in addition to home ownership and public housing. But in Britain other options were squeezed out, in particular the continental model of choosing to rent rather than to own, with rent controls introduced during the First World War decimating the apartment lifestyle so popular in Europe. It is this more than anything which has perpetuated the myth that an Englishman’s home is his castle and that the English prefer houses to flats. However, what differentiates Britain from the continent is not how much of the population owns or rents, but ideology. Housing policy was driven by public-sector state socialism in the post-war period until market-based policies took over from 1979, which is the ideology that still prevails, while in the rest of Europe a more mixed housing economy is the norm.


pages: 372 words: 92,477

The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cashless society, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Nelson Mandela, night-watchman state, Norman Macrae, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, open economy, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, pension reform, pensions crisis, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit maximization, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, too big to fail, total factor productivity, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, zero-sum game

The young Friedman arrived at the University of Chicago in 1932 as a supporter of Norman Thomas, the socialist presidential candidate, got his first job as a New Deal apparatchik in Washington, D.C., and remained on the government payroll until 1943, even helping invent one of the most fiendish tools of big government, the payroll withholding tax. But by the time he moved back to Chicago, Friedman had begun to forge a different course. Three years later he announced his arrival with a furious attack on rent control, “Roofs or Ceilings” (1946), which immediately marked him out as part of the free-market resistance to Keynesianism. For most of the previous two decades the resistance to big government had been headquartered in Europe rather than in America. The founding father of “the Austrian school” was Ludwig von Mises, who told government officials, “You are not the vicars of a god called ‘the State.’ ”3 During the Second World War, Karl Popper labored away on The Open Society and Its Enemies in far-off New Zealand, while in blitzed London his friend Friedrich Hayek, a pupil of von Mises, produced The Road to Serfdom in 1944, worrying that the book would sink without a trace because of paper shortages.

., 1906), 72 Putin, Vladimir, 144, 153, 253 Pythagorean theorem, 31 Qianlong, Emperor of China, 41 racism, 88 Rauch, Jonathan, 231 Reagan, Ronald, 8, 28, 88, 91–92, 97, 198 Friedman and, 86 small-government ideology of, 95 see also Thatcher-Reagan revolution reason, religion as opponent of, 48 Reform, 203 Reformation, 48–49 Reinfeldt, Fredrik, 184 religion: freedom of, 224 reason as opponent of, 48 rent control, 82 rent seeking, 239 “Report on Manufacturers” (Hamilton), 150 Republic, The (Plato), 250 Republican Party, U.S., 123, 236–37 increased taxes opposed by, 100, 255 tax rises approved by, 12 Reshef, Ariell, 239 retirement age, 184–85, 242 Reykjavik City Council, 261 Ricardo, David, 49 Richelieu, Cardinal, 37 Right, 82, 93 government bloat and, 10–11, 98 government efficiency and, 187 and growth of big government, 10, 95, 98, 228, 230–31 privatization and, 234, 236–37 welfare services opposed by, 88, 185 rights: Fourth Revolution and, 270 liberal state’s expansion of, 7, 48, 49, 51 in nation-state, 30, 43–44 of property, 40, 43, 224 protection of, as primary role of liberal state, 45 see also freedom Rights of Man, The (Paine), 44 Ripley, Amanda, 206–7 road pricing, 217 Road to Serfdom, The (Hayek), 10, 83, 86 Rodrik, Dani, 262 Romney, Mitt, 217 “Roofs or Ceilings” (Friedman), 82 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 72–73, 252 Roosevelt, Theodore, 71–72, 258 rotten boroughs, 51, 125, 227, 251, 257, 269 see also gerrymandering Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 44, 45 Rousseff, Dilma, 153 Royal Society, 42 Rumsfeld, Donald, 77, 253 Russia, 71 China and, 152 corruption in, 186 failure of democracy in, 253, 262 privatization in, 96 Singapore model admired by, 144 state capitalism in, 153, 154 Russian Revolution, 45 Rwanda, 144 Sacramento, Calif., 105, 106, 127 Sahni, Nikhil, 200 St.


pages: 320 words: 90,526

Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America by Alissa Quart

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, business intelligence, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, East Village, Elon Musk, full employment, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, haute couture, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, job automation, late capitalism, Lyft, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, new economy, nuclear winter, obamacare, Ponzi scheme, post-work, precariat, price mechanism, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, school choice, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, surplus humans, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, women in the workforce, working poor

Today, as the urban scholar David “DJ” Madden wrote in a book coauthored with Peter Marcuse, “real estate is attacking housing,” with the “pursuit of profit in housing coming into conflict with its use for living.” Like the Uber drivers, middle-class people who now want to live in or near desirable cities may need to work second jobs. This is what the working poor have long done, of course, to stay afloat. One solution is to broaden rent stabilization, a system that permits a middle class to stay and flourish in expensive cities. I grew up in such a rent-controlled apartment—a book-lined prewar with a sunken living room and a roach problem—that cost far below market rate. Until this year, I lived in a similarly book-lined rent-stabilized unit that has glowing Ashcan School views of water towers to go along with the apartment’s silverfish. Rent stabilization and control go along with better-regulated real estate development overall, especially in desirable cities.

CHAPTER 8 immense reductions of newsroom staffs: Ken Doctor, “Newsonomics: The Halving of America’s Daily Newsrooms,” Newsonomics, July 28, 2015, http://newsonomics.com/newsonomics-the-halving-of-americas-daily-newsrooms/. it was easier to cover rent: Claude S. Fischer, “Reversal of Fortune,” Boston Review, June 20, 2016, https://bostonreview.net/us/claude-fischer-reversal-fortune-urbanization-gentrification. urban scholar David “DJ” Madden: David Madden and Peter Marcuse, In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis (New York: Verso, 2016). Rent stabilization and control: Rent control started in New York City in 1969 when rents really began to jack up in postwar buildings; today one million apartments are covered by these guidelines, which protect tenants from big rent increases. Some think that rent stabilization helps create a fairer housing market, protecting it from gentrification. Others argue that the price cap on these dwellings reduces supply, thus raising prices around the stabilized or controlled units.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

additive manufacturing, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, peer-to-peer rental, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Zipcar

State and city government resistance to Airbnb in the United States, both in New York and beyond, persists as I am writing this book. In mid-2015, San Francisco’s city authorities released a study suggesting that Airbnb was reducing affordable rental housing significantly. Airbnb responded with its own study by Anita Roth suggesting the impact was negligible. (My own view, which I discussed in a New York Times op-ed, is that, as of 2015, factors like rent control and population growth are the primary contributors to the shortage of affordable rental housing in San Francisco.) The level of acrimony toward Airbnb from the hotel industry is captured well by the statements made by Vanessa Sinders, Senior Vice President and Head of Government Affairs of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), at a 2015 Federal Trade Commission meeting to discuss the sharing economy, where she noted: “Right now, there is an unlevel [sic] playing field that is compromising consumer safety, endangering the character and security of residential neighborhoods across the country, and changing the housing market in some negative ways.”

In San Francisco, city officials contend the impact is high, while Airbnb’s own economic analysis suggests otherwise. See http://www.scribd.com/doc/265376839/City-Budget-and-Legislative-Analysis-Report-on-Short-term-Rentals and https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/the-airbnb-community-in-sf-june-8-2015.pdf. Regardless, the magnitude of any impact is dwarfed by other larger effects like those of population growth or rent control. See http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/06/16/san-francisco-and-new-york-weigh-airbnbs-effect-on-rent/airbnb-is-an-ally-to-cities-not-an-adversary. 4. Share Better, “About the Campaign,” 2014. http://www.sharebetter.org. 5. New York State Office of the Attorney General, “Airbnb in the City,” October 2014. http://www.ag.ny.gov/pdfs/Airbnb%20report.pdf. 6. “The ‘Sharing’ Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators,” Federal Trade Commission workshop transcript, June 9, 2015. https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_events/636241/sharing_economy_workshop_transcript.pdf. 7.


pages: 322 words: 87,181

Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy by Dani Rodrik

3D printing, airline deregulation, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, centre right, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, global value chain, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Kenneth Rogoff, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Pareto efficiency, postindustrial economy, price stability, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steven Pinker, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, éminence grise

The University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers cheered the consensus in his New York Times blog.1 The virulent public debate about whether fiscal stimulus works, he complained, has become totally disconnected from what experts know and agree on. Economists agree on many things that are often politically controversial. The Harvard economist Greg Mankiw listed some of them in 2009.2 The following propositions garnered support from at least 90 percent of economists: import tariffs and quotas reduce general economic welfare; rent controls reduce the supply of housing; floating exchange rates provide an effective international monetary system; the United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries; and fiscal policy stimulates the economy when there is less than full employment. This consensus about so many important issues contrasts rather starkly with the general perception that economists rarely agree on anything.

Consider some of the areas of widespread agreement that I listed above. The proposition that trade restrictions reduce economic welfare is certainly not generally valid, and it is violated when certain conditions—such as externalities or increasing returns to scale—are present. Moreover, it requires that economists make value judgments on distributional effects, which are better left to the electorate itself. Likewise, the proposition that rent controls reduce the supply of housing is violated under conditions of imperfect competition. And the proposition that floating exchange rates are an effective system relies on assumptions about the workings of the monetary and financial system that have proved problematic; I suspect a poll today would find significantly less support for it. Consider other issues of the day. The widely held presumption that minimum wages are damaging to employment carries considerably less weight today because of mounting evidence showing mixed results; there are models under which minimum wages either do not reduce employment or increase it.


pages: 1,213 words: 376,284

Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, From the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Frank Trentmann

Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial exclusion, fixed income, food miles, full employment, germ theory of disease, global village, haute cuisine, high net worth, income inequality, index card, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, labour mobility, libertarian paternalism, Livingstone, I presume, longitudinal study, mass immigration, McMansion, mega-rich, moral panic, mortgage debt, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postnationalism / post nation state, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, stakhanovite, the built environment, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

And standardization created a shared culture and national identity. When Doane was in London and saw a picture of an American suburb in a toothpaste ad, he was homesick. ‘There’s no other country in the world that has such pleasant houses. And I don’t care if they are standardized. It’s a corking standard!’55 In the real America, the job of the many real estate Babbitts was made easier by the housing shortage and by rent control. One reason for the rise in home ownership was that rental property was taken off the market and turned into a more profitable commodity for sale. A study immediately after the Second World War asked one thousand Americans why they had bought a home: 24 per cent saw it as an investment, 11 per cent were driven by a ‘desire for independence’. Yet for every fifth person who was motivated by the ‘ideal of home-ownership’, there was one who felt forced to buy because they simply could not find a home to rent.

By 1938, one in five working-class families owned their home.58 Although rent and mortgages were a major part of the household budget, we have little systematic knowledge about their impact on people’s spending patterns, or vice versa. In English cities, for example, rents were galloping ahead of wages in the late nineteenth century – this must have put a brake on working-class consumption. The introduction of rent controls during the First World War offered some help but was soon rolled back. The proliferation of tenants’ associations and rent strikes was testimony to a growing anger. Countries took different roads to better housing. In Belgium, strikes pushed the government in 1889 to give the national savings bank the power to invest in better homes for the poor; France followed with a similar law in 1894. British cities opted for slum clearances.

In 1928, a third of all tenants on Liverpool council estates were in arrears – and that is before the world depression hit. In the 1930s, workers spent around 20–25 per cent of their pay on rent and fuel – those who paid a mortgage, slightly more.60 There were already some initiatives with more affordable housing in Austria in the 1920s, but mainly it was only with the expansion of welfare states after the Second World War that public housing, more rigorous rent controls and social transfers put down a supporting floor for poor consumers; how critical such public transfers were for affluent societies we shall see in a later chapter. Since the 1970s, the cost of housing as share of household consumption has once again been on the rise, at least in Western Europe.61 Better homes thus had many contradictory effects. Rising rents meant less spending money. A Liverpudlian woman recalls how in 1927 she moved with her husband and baby to one of the new suburban estates: it was an escape from living with her mother, aunt and cousin, squeezed into a two-bedroom terrace.


pages: 526 words: 160,601

A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney

1960s counterculture, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate personhood, Corrections Corporation of America, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, equal pay for equal work, failed state, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Menlo Park, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, operation paperclip, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school choice, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Snapchat, source of truth, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

It would also be efficient, as caps distort all sorts of economic decision making, reducing labor market flexibility by encouraging people to stay put, which makes no sense in an era where lifetime employment has vanished and jobs migrate. (The same is true of rent control, another strategy that favors seniors while constraining supply and forcing the price of unrestricted rentals upward.) The usual counterargument is that such revisions will displace seniors who cannot afford to live in the homes of their choice, to which the answer is: tough. The law confers rights of citizenship in the United States, not a right to reside in a particular place. Abolishing caps and rent control may create short-term price declines, though this would serve as something of a generational equalizer, putting more homes in reach of younger cohorts, among whom rates of homeownership are notably depressed.

The government also cultivated the sentimental idea of homeownership as a national virtue. So while renting is often a better financial decision, Clinton, Bush II, and so on extolled this peculiar American dream, and consumers came to view home ownership not just as a necessity or luxury consumable, but as a surefire investment, even a kind of entitlement. People bought bigger and more expensive houses, a consumption problem of its own, while rent control, property tax freezes, zoning restrictions, and other inefficient limits favored existing residents. And the banks willingly facilitated, often reducing down payments from the conventional 20 percent to as low as 3.5 percent or even 0 percent—i.e., allowing leverage to increase from 4:1 to 27.6:1, or in the case of zero down, ∞:1. Many banks competed on the ease of approval, forgoing income verification in favor of borrowers’ self-reporting.


Free Money for All: A Basic Income Guarantee Solution for the Twenty-First Century by Mark Walker

3D printing, 8-hour work day, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, commoditize, financial independence, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, intangible asset, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, market clearing, means of production, new economy, obamacare, off grid, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, working poor

The gradable aspect of capitalism is further confirmed when we note that profits might be limited and prohibitions might exist on making profit on some assets in certain ways. As an example of the former, suppose country E is just like country D, but then attempts to FULLTIME CAPITALISM 47 become more capitalistic by lifting the prohibition on making money on real estate. People renting homes start complaining to their government representatives as their rents go up, so the government puts in rent controls, which limits the amount rents can rise in any given year. Rent controls limit the amount of profit that real estate capitalists can generate, still, country E is more capitalistic than country D, since it allows at least some profit to be made on real estate. However, E is not as capitalistic as country C. Countries often allow particular forms of capital to be used for some profit-making purposes, but not others. The ownership of a gun might be part of the business assets of a guide who takes rich people on hunting trips.


pages: 109 words: 39,462

Do You Mind if I Cancel?: (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti

hiring and firing, index card, rent control, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

were quickly squashed and replaced with: “It’s fine, I’m on my own schedule, everything’s going to happen the way it should, things will work out, when I’m ready the universe will take care of it.” And just underneath that, its twin voice whispering: “Why not you? Why hasn’t it happened for you yet? Why is it easier for everyone else? It’s not fair!!” During this time, I’m working the overnight shift four days a week. I’m off the other three. More time to not write. I live in a sixth-floor walk-up on Christopher Street in a rent-controlled apartment. The kind of tenement building that you usually see in movies about Italian immigrants or the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Walking my bicycle up and down the six flights of stairs to ride to and from the hotel. In my early twenties I work as a bicycle teen-tour leader for American Youth Hostels, an organization that has long since gone out of business, probably because they had people as unqualified as myself leading their tours.


pages: 373 words: 112,822

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

He added that he wanted to help New York City collect and pay hotel taxes on Airbnb rentals and that he was eager to help the city root out the bad actors causing disturbances in residential neighborhoods, which he proposed to do primarily by setting up a 24/7 hotline to field complaints. Among city and state officials, the screed went over poorly. Liz Krueger, the New York senator who slammed Airbnb as disingenuous, says her office at the time was deluged with complaints from constituents. With New York real estate starting to recover from the recession, landlords were leaping at excuses to free up rent-controlled apartments and lease them again at the higher market rates. Krueger met with Airbnb representatives and urged them to warn hosts on the site, with clearly visible language, that they might be violating both state law and their leases. Airbnb, she says, responded with a rotating series of explanations of why that was too complex or how it exposed the company to legal liability. (The site was still not adequately warning New York customers a year later, according to a review by Gawker.)16 Krueger, a lifelong New York Democrat with a dry wit and a dim view of Silicon Valley startups seeking to play by their own rules, figured there was a simpler explanation: Airbnb didn’t want to curtail its fast-growing business in the city.

“I ended up taking them to a different apartment. It was pretty crazy,” he says. “The girls were attractive and everyone was up for a party.” After Schneiderman’s subpoena, Rich Chalmers, unlike Seth Porges, thought that it was time to get out. A real estate agent friend told him it was too dangerous and that some landlords were wising up and starting to strictly enforce prohibitions against sublets in their leases. If rent-control laws restricted them from charging market rates for their own properties, they were going to make damn sure that their own tenants weren’t going to turn around and reap the full market rate via Airbnb. Chalmers stopped listing in 2012 and paid all the hospitality taxes on his Airbnb income, even erring on the side of caution by refiling for one year. It was this eclectic mix of earnest hosts and naked opportunists that Chesky was trying to protect when he sent the attorney general back to court to defend his subpoena.


pages: 840 words: 202,245

Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present by Jeff Madrick

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, inventory management, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, MITM: man-in-the-middle, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, technology bubble, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, union organizing, V2 rocket, value at risk, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

With his degree at last in hand, Friedman sought a teaching position at a good university. Aside from the aborted Wisconsin offer a few years earlier, few invitations came his way until he was at last offered a position at the University of Minnesota. There, he joined his fellow Chicago graduate George Stigler, already a professor, and together in 1946 they co-authored a stinging, ideological article criticizing rent control. The central thesis was that rent control restricted the supply of new housing and artificially kept the price (the rent) down. The article, like his graduate thesis, focused on the dangers that arise when government sets prices. The piece was based on skimpy data regarding rents in a single month in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake (forty years earlier). Moreover, it was published by an advocacy organization called the Foundation for Economic Education, which was dedicated to “the explanation of the meaning of free private competitive enterprise.

They named the group after the small Swiss town in which they convened, Mont Pelerin, near Vevey, Switzerland. The formation of the Mont Pelerin Society was financed by Europeans and a highly conservative tax-exempt American foundation, the William Volker Charitable Fund of Kansas City, founded by prosperous right-wing local businessmen. The fund also helped finance the Foundation for Economic Education, which published the Friedman-Sigler paper on rent control. After the remarkable success of The Road to Serfdom, the Volker Fund attempted to bring Hayek from London to an American university. The fund’s president, Harold Luhnow, was determined to underwrite an Americanized version of the Hayek book—though there was already a condensed version of it published by Reader’s Digest. But finding a suitable university position for Hayek turned out to be difficult, and he was not interested in rewriting his book for an American audience.


pages: 188 words: 40,950

The Case for Universal Basic Income by Louise Haagh

back-to-the-land, basic income, battle of ideas, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, full employment, future of work, housing crisis, income inequality, job-hopping, land reform, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mini-job, moral hazard, new economy, offshore financial centre, precariat, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, trickle-down economics, universal basic income

Citizens’ Basic Income Trust, 2018, Basic Income – a Brief Introduction, p. 8. 8. For a short but concise critique, see https://www.theguardian.com/global/shortcuts/2017/oct/29/how-the-actual-magic-money-tree-works 9. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/private-landlords-taxpayer-money-housing-benefits-rent-housing-crisis-low-income-families-a7199111.html 10. The British social housing bill is much larger than in comparator countries where rent controls enable the public to save. In 2014, housing benefit spend in Denmark represented 5.3% (at DKK70 million) of combined housing and income transfer spend (on families, housing, income, unemployment and sickness benefits) (Statistisk Årbog, 2016, 68). In comparison, in the UK, housing benefit represented 24% (£26 billion) of the above posts (at about £132 billion) in 2015/6 (Department of Work and Pensions, Annual Report 2015/16). 11.


Battling Eight Giants: Basic Income Now by Guy Standing

basic income, Bernie Sanders, centre right, collective bargaining, decarbonisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, labour market flexibility, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, open economy, pension reform, precariat, quantitative easing, rent control, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, universal basic income, Y Combinator

Although at the time of writing, the outcome was still unclear, Brexit in whatever form will involve considerable ‘collateral damage’, in lives thrown into disarray and worse. Having a basic income in place, even one that paid a fraction of what is required for a decent living standard, would help ameliorate the disruptive costs of Brexit, which will surely be borne by many of those least able to bear them. A basic income would complement a much-needed radical new housing policy, including reversing the decline in social housing and imposing rent controls. For the time being, however, Housing Benefit would need to be retained. A basic income would reward unpaid work, so would encourage people to spend more time doing care work. As an ageing society, Britain is suffering a substantial and growing ‘care deficit’. A basic Battling Eight Giants 54 income would enable more people to care for those they love, thereby reducing pressure on public spending for care services.


pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Parag Khanna, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stocks for the long run, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, undersea cable, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

The ugly and socially dysfunctional tower blocks and housing ‘estates’ that today blight most of Britain’s cities can be blamed on both parties. The only real difference between Right and Left was the readiness of the Conservatives to deregulate the private rental market, in the hope of encouraging private landlords, and the equal and opposite resolve of Labour to reimpose rent controls and stamp out ‘Rachmanism’ (exploitative behaviour by landlords), exemplified by Peter Rachman, who used intimidation to evict the sitting tenants of rent-controlled properties, replacing them with West Indian immigrants who had to pay market rents.31 As late as 1971, fewer than half of British homes were owner-occupied. In the United States, where public housing was never so important, mortgage interest payments were always tax deductible, from the inception of the federal income tax in 1913.32 As Ronald Reagan said when the rationality of this tax break was challenged, mortgage interest relief was ‘part of the American dream’.ao It played a much smaller role in Britain until 1983, when a more radically Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher introduced Mortgage Interest Relief At Source (MIRAS) for the first £30,000 of a qualifying mortgage.


pages: 482 words: 122,497

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank

affirmative action, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, edge city, financial deregulation, full employment, George Gilder, guest worker program, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, P = NP, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, War on Poverty

And we’re going to go after 20 PIRG fights this year . . . and you have an interest in this, or you ought to.’”25 Thus did the young entrepreneurs of the USAF get out there and sell themselves as political hit men. According to one 1986 study, the group managed to collect tribute from canning and bottling companies, two oil companies, an electric company (PIRGs were then working to set up utility watchdog groups), Amway, Coors, an assortment of San Francisco landlords worried about the possibility of rent control, and the Campbell’s Soup Company, which reportedly paid USAF to attack a campus support group for a migrant farmworkers union.26 It was pugnacity for pay. Grover Norquist explained the strategy to an interviewer as a simple matter of cost-effectiveness. “PIRGs have cost the bottlers and the auto industry millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “And to the extent that we’ve been able to get people ginned up and kill PIRGs off, . . . we’ve cost the left a couple hundred thousand dollars a year in funding.”

See also government career employees Putnam, Robert racism radio talk showsn railroads Rand, Ayn Reader’s Digest Reagan, Ronald deficits and government incompetence and Iran-Contra and South Africa and Reagan youth real-estate boom Reason Rebel-in-Chief (Barnes) red-baiting redlining reductions in force (RIFs) Reed, Ralph reform tradition Regent University Law School regulation attacks on Ciskei and CNMI and control of, by industries defunding left and eminent domain clause and follow-the-dime story and free market vs. libertarianism and lobbying and Regulation magazine regulatory agencies Reich, Robert Reinventing Government (Osborne and Gaebler) religion RENAMO rebels rent control “rent extraction” Republican Party early 20th century Freshman Class of 1994 lobbying and massive debt produced by National Committee National Convention of 1984 nomination fight of 1964 Requiem in the Tropics (Cox) “revolving door” Reyes, Pete P. Rhodesian Sellout, The (Skimin) Rice, Condoleezza Rich, Frank Ridenour, Amy Moritz Robertson, Pat Rock the House (Norquist) Roe v.


pages: 386 words: 122,595

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated) by Charles Wheelan

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Malacca Straits, market bubble, microcredit, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, open economy, presumed consent, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game

It’s often said that if you ask ten economists the same question you will get ten different answers. But I’ll wager that if you asked ten economists why there is a shortage of cabs and apartments in New York City, all ten would tell you that limitations on the number of taxi medallions and rent control are what restrict the supply of these goods and services. There are certainly many areas where economists are in virtual unanimous agreement. Economists overwhelmingly agree that free international trade can improve the standard of living of the trading countries and that tariffs and import quotas reduce general welfare. Economists generally agree that rent controls reduce the volume and quality of housing. Economists were virtually unanimous in their forecast that the horrific tragedy of September 11, 2001, would lead to a contraction of economic activity. My own experience in government suggests that there is far less difference in the views of economists (be they conservative Republicans or liberal Democrats) than there is between economists and those who come from different disciplines.


pages: 131 words: 45,778

My Misspent Youth: Essays by Meghan Daum

haute couture, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, rent control, Yogi Berra

It was a standard prewar with moldings around the ceilings and, most likely, porcelain hexagonal bathroom tiles that were coming loose. Although I’m not sure if there were faded Persian rugs on the floors and NPR humming from the speakers, it was just the sort of place for that. The music copyist and his wife had lived there for almost twenty years and although rent was the furthest thing from my mind at the time, I can now surmise, based on what they probably earned, that the apartment was rent controlled, perhaps $300 per month. It’s now difficult to imagine a time when I didn’t walk into someone’s apartment and immediately start the income-to-rent ratio calculations. But on that summer night, standing in the living room of this apartment, looking down on the streets whose voluptuous, stony buildings formed the shore to the river that so famously keeps here safely away from there, my life was changed forever.


pages: 473 words: 132,344

The Downfall of Money: Germany's Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class by Frederick Taylor

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, central bank independence, centre right, collective bargaining, falling living standards, fiat currency, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, housing crisis, Internet Archive, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, mittelstand, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, quantitative easing, rent control, risk/return, strikebreaker, trade route, zero-sum game

As the exchange rate tumbled, German goods became progressively cheaper in foreign markets. The pricing strategies of German manufacturers were further aided by the fact that, although workers, especially union members, were constantly demanding inflation-adjusted wage increases, those same wages were starting from a low real base. The need for inflation-adjusted increases was also mitigated by continuing government support for food prices and by the continuance of wartime rent controls (what that meant for the government’s control of the deficit – or lack of it – was another matter). The patriotic British, French or American (or Danish, or Dutch) businessman might prefer to buy from his own countrymen, but German quality was high and German prices, at that time, were hard to resist. In any case, it was common for large German companies and conglomerates to trade through wholly or partly owned foreign subsidiaries, especially those based in Holland.

For those who, unlike the pensioners and the impoverished middle class, and the hand-to-mouth working class, had spare money over and above what was needed for subsistence, acquiring ‘things’, material assets, was the key to surviving and even prospering in these uncertain times. More important than anything was to get rid of your cash, which might tomorrow be worthless. The relaxation of the rent control laws was a signal for a new wave of investment, as the Manchester Guardian reported: The boom that has just set in in the building trade is responsible for the reduction in the figures of the unemployed, sunk this week to 50,000. This sudden activity is due to two reasons. The older one is that the fortunate or unfortunate possessor of too many paper marks is desirous of exchanging them for something tangible in bricks and mortar even at the incredible cost of construction.


pages: 515 words: 132,295

Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, bank run, Basel III, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

Structurally, this setup allows private equity firms to act as holding companies for portfolio firms, which enables them to reduce legal liabilities. Consider the bungled 2006 deal involving investors Tishman Speyer and BlackRock, which raised a private equity fund to purchase the famous Manhattan rent-controlled apartment buildings of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. The $5.4 billion deal was done with 20 percent equity and 80 percent debt (maximizing its tax advantages, since our tax code favors debt over equity, as we’ll learn in the next chapter). The partners wanted to kick out tenants and turn the rent-controlled apartments into condos, but when that plan was foiled by numerous protests and a court ruling, they defaulted on the mortgage. Their investors—including the Church of England, the government of Singapore, CalPERS, and two other public pension funds based in California and Florida—lost a of total of $850 million as a result.


pages: 519 words: 136,708

Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers by Stephen Graham

1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Chelsea Manning, Commodity Super-Cycle, creative destruction, deindustrialization, digital map, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, energy security, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Google Earth, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, low earth orbit, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, megastructure, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Project Plowshare, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South China Sea, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche

Importantly, ideas of vertical growth have also resonated with city leaders and development agencies keen to engineer glitzy, futuristic skylines as a means of building urban ‘brands’ that compete with other so-called world or global cities for investment, tourism, media exposure and the ‘creative class’ (mobile and well-educated high-tech elites).3 The problem with Glaeser’s arguments, however, is that they invoke densification and verticalisation for cities as a simple economic imperative while completely ignoring the structural social and political forces shaping the production and consumption of urban housing in contemporary cities.4 In economic terms, Glaeser focuses exclusively on alleged links between inelastic housing supply (caused by constrained building and low building heights) and housing afford-ability. At the same time, in line with the wider neoliberal rhetoric within which his arguments fit,5 he argues that state regulation is merely a barrier to the building of housing in cities. The implication is that housing and planning regulations and subsidies – rent controls, social and collective housing provisions, height restrictions – need to be cut away in the interests of an entirely privatised housing regime unleashing the vertical growth processes that they supposedly constrain. In many cities, the result of this confluence of ideas concerning densification, ‘smart’ growth, neoliberal vertical housing and ‘global’ city planning – despite Glaeser’s rhetoric – has been profoundly regressive socially.

The construction of these towers represents the latest phenomenon in a thirty-year process of hyper-gentrification whereby the global super-rich – Malaysian financiers, Indian building moguls, Mexican power brokers, Russian ministers (some of dubious provenance) and the like – have used untraceable shell companies to aggressively assert increasing control in Manhattan.56 In 2016 the US state is so concerned about the role that Manhattan’s elite real estate is playing in the laundering of ‘dirty’ money from around the world that it started requiring real estate agents to track the identities of purchasers.57 Indeed, the towers are only the most visible sign of a much broader shift. This has involved the loosening of social obligations or regulations in housing and planning; the withdrawal of long-standing rent controls; the eviction of lower-income tenants; the privatisation of public space; aggressively race-based ‘zero tolerance’ policing and other social controls; and the deepening power of finance and real estate capital over urban planning. These forces have combined powerfully in the explicit repackaging of Manhattan as a luxury brand for the world’s super-rich, a process that has led directly to the rapid growth of New York’s increasingly dispersed homeless population (from 23,000 in 1993 to more than 60,000 in 2014).


pages: 624 words: 127,987

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume by Josh Kaufman

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, business cycle, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Heinemeier Hansson, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, Donald Knuth, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Santayana, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, hindsight bias, index card, inventory management, iterative process, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, lateral thinking, loose coupling, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, Network effects, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, place-making, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, side project, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, subscription business, telemarketer, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, Yogi Berra

Think of a line of dominoes—a single push causes a chain of events to occur. Once the chain starts, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to stop or reverse the cascade of cause and effect. Rent control in New York City after World War II is another sobering example of unintended consequences. Originally intended to provide returning veterans with affordable housing, the policy capped rent prices (and the ability of landlords to raise them) in certain areas of the city. Affordable housing for veterans is a noble idea, right? Here’s what the city planners didn’t expect: every year, the cost to maintain properties in New York City continued to rise, but landlords couldn’t raise rent prices to compensate for their increased costs. By law, rent control couldn’t be removed unless the original leaseholder moved or the building was condemned, so landlords refused to maintain their property—it was a waste of money.


Howard Rheingold by The Virtual Community Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier-Perseus Books (1993)

Apple II, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, experimental subject, George Gilder, global village, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, license plate recognition, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, The Great Good Place, The Hackers Conference, urban decay, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, young professional

PEN was doing what it was designed to do: enabling citizens to discuss their own agendas, surface problems of mutual concern, cooperatively design solutions, and make the ideas work in the city's official government. Santa Monica is an exceptional city in terms of local citizen interest, stemming from the renter's rights movement in the early 1980s. The citizens' organizations that helped pass a historically stringent rent-control ordinance also helped elect a city council that was publicly committed to opening up the government to wider citizen participation. The city council, inspired by the way an American company had helped a Japanese city use CMC to resist destruction of a local forest, hired the same American company to help them design a municipal CMC system. Metasystems Design Group (MDG), the Alexandria, Virginia, company that helped Santa Monica set up the Caucus computer conferencing software, is well aware of the culture-altering potential of CMC technology and deliberately blends organizational development work with CMC systems engineering.

Personal computers at home, terminals at work, and the dozens of public terminals provided to libraries, schools, and city buildings enable Santa Monicans to read information provided by the city, exchange e-mail with other citizens or city hall officials, and participate in public conferences. The police department runs the Crimewatch conference. "Planning" is a forum for discussions of land use, zoning, and development; "Environment" is where air quality, water pollution, and recycling programs are discussed; "Santa Monica" covers rent control, community events, and information about city boards and commissions. Other forums allow discussion of topics far afield from municipal concerns. MDG, well aware of Oldenburg's ideas about informal public spaces, made sure there was enough virtual common space for people to create their own formal and informal discussions in addition to following the ones established by the system's organizers.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Slumlords and other unscrupulous operators are encouraged to subdivide properties into smaller rentals from which they extract hefty fees. Rent-controlled apartments can be leveraged to extract illegal rents from unsuspecting subletters. That has become an acute problem in San Francisco, Airbnb’s home city, where housing prices have risen exorbitantly due to the influx of moneyed young start-up employees. In the process, otherwise suitable long-term rental units become unavailable, turned over to tourists and short-term corporate rentals, which in turn drives up prices for locals. In the summer of 2013, evictions in San Francisco were at their highest in eleven years, due in part to the latitude the city gives landlords in evicting residents of rent-controlled apartments and the tempting payday of short-term, under-the-table rentals. Among the most pernicious aspects of the sharing economy is the way it presents itself as a populist operation, a loose community coming together to engage in mutually beneficial, informal economic exchanges.


pages: 226 words: 59,080

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Donald Davies, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, white flight

The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies. (85%) 7. A large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy. (83%) 8. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%) Unless you skipped the previous chapters, the degree of consensus on these propositions should surprise you. For at least four of the eight, we have already seen models that contradict them. Rent controls (ceilings on what landlords can charge) do not necessarily restrict the supply of housing if landlords behave monopolistically, trade restrictions do not necessarily reduce efficiency, fiscal stimulus does not necessarily work, and minimum wages do not necessarily raise unemployment. In all of these cases, there are models with imperfect competition, imperfect markets, or imperfect information where the reverse outcome prevails.


pages: 212 words: 70,224

How to Retire the Cheapskate Way by Jeff Yeager

asset allocation, car-free, employer provided health coverage, estate planning, financial independence, fixed income, Pepto Bismol, pez dispenser, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Zipcar

He also generates some additional income from a host of little side businesses he “plays around with,” including professional photography, PR consulting, and selling customized cards and invitations, an enterprise that he started at the age of fourteen and has maintained ever since. He estimates that he spends roughly $1,500 per month on all of his living expenses, including what he pays for his quasi-rent-controlled apartment. Official poverty-level gauges aside, it’s clear that Jerry is among that half of all Americans who rely primarily on Social Security for their retirement income. Without it, he would be “poor” by any and every definition of the term. But what’s indisputable is the second half of Jerry Dyson’s statement: “I’ve learned how to be poor and very happy.” “Sure, I could have more stuff and could afford to spend at least a little more than I do.


pages: 288 words: 64,771

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality by Brink Lindsey

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Build a better mousetrap, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, inventory management, invisible hand, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, mass incarceration, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, software patent, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Washington Consensus, white picket fence, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

The minimum wage, for instance, creates rents in the form of above-market wages for workers at the bottom of the pay scale. Likewise, collective bargaining under the Wagner Act confers a wage premium of roughly 15 percent for unionized workers. Overtime regulations, the Davis-Bacon Act mandating the payment of prevailing wages on public works projects, universal service requirements for telephone service and public utilities, rent control and tenant protection laws, and the Americans with Disabilities Act provide further examples of regulatory policies that create rents for the less-well-off. Even when regulations limit or distort competition in favor of big corporations, the distributive consequences aren’t always clear. Exactly how those rents are ultimately divided up among the corporations’ workers, managers, shareholders, and customers depends on a complex interplay of factors.


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

The company makes it easy to add a property to its site, but when you sign up for Airbnb as a host or a guest you agree to four separate terms of service that total 30,000 words: almost half the length of this book. The company knows rules when it suits them. Our housing and residences are surrounded by rules because we are part of a community and need to get along. Not all these rules are good ones, but co-operative housing organizations place limits on what ­members can do, landlord–tenant agreements place limits on what ­tenants can do, city rules put limits on what landlords can do, and rent-­controlled apartments are made available with a set of conditions about how they are used. Airbnb has no interest in these rules. Instead, despite its talk of community, the only logic it seems to understand is that of the free market: the right of property owners to do what they want with their property. Tenants in shared buildings don’t like it when their neighbors all start renting out and a new wave of strangers appears in the building every weekend, but this is not Airbnb’s responsibility.


pages: 217 words: 69,892

My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh

East Village, illegal immigration, index card, out of africa, Pepto Bismol, rent control, white picket fence

There were a few loudmouthed single women my age I saw from time to time gabbing on their cell phones and walking their teacup poodles. They reminded me of Reva, but they had more money and less self-loathing, I would guess. This was Yorkville, the Upper East Side. People were uptight. When I shuffled through the lobby in my pajamas and slippers on my way to the bodega, I felt like I was committing a crime, but I didn’t care. The only other slovenly people around were elderly Jews with rent-controlled apartments. But I was tall and thin and blond and pretty and young. Even at my worst, I knew I still looked good. My building was eight stories high, concrete with burgundy awnings, an anonymous facade on a block otherwise lined with pristine town houses, each with its own placard warning people not to let their dogs piss on their stoops because it would damage the brownstone. “Let us honor those who came before us, as well as those who will follow,” one sign read.


pages: 218 words: 68,648

Confessions of a Crypto Millionaire: My Unlikely Escape From Corporate America by Dan Conway

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, buy and hold, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, financial independence, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, job satisfaction, litecoin, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, rent control, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Steve Jobs, supercomputer in your pocket, Turing complete, Uber for X, universal basic income, upwardly mobile

During my vision quest, I berated a bank teller over a small fee and asked my father if he could please stop accidentally opening my mail, because it seemed to be happening a lot. I was twenty-eight years old. My plan was to drastically reduce my spending and start a one-person PR consulting practice that would generate $10,000 per month or more. I’d sock it away, bite the bullet and accumulate enough so I had options for how I’d live the rest of my life. I figured I’d eventually get a small, rent-controlled apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco and keep it for decades or move to Eureka up north, a low-cost-of-living destination full of Bay Area cast-offs I’d visited a few times. I could write for a living, start a small one-person business, or find some other way to make enough money to live frugally without having to rejoin the traditional workforce. I consumed extreme frugality newsletters for inspiration and lifestyle ideas.


pages: 221 words: 67,514

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Albert Einstein, complexity theory, East Village, index card, means of production, rent control

The communists I’d known in the past had always operated on the assumption that come the revolution, they’d be the ones lying around party headquarters with clipboards in their hands. They couldn’t manage to wash a coffee mug, yet they’d been more than willing to criticize the detergent manufacturer. Patrick’s mugs were clean and neatly lined up on the drainboard. He lived alone in a tiny rent-controlled apartment filled with soft snack foods, letters from imprisoned radicals, and the sorts of newspapers that have no fashion section. His moving collective consisted of him, a dented bread truck, and a group of full- and part-time helpers hired according to availability and the size of any given job. Together we resembled the cast of a dopey situation comedy, something called Grin and Bear It, or Hello, Dolly.


pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, business cycle, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, money market fund, moral hazard, mouse model, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, selection bias, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

So I can call around: if I can do better than the Kensington party, with, say, a dinner with any of my real friends, I would do that. Otherwise I would take a black taxi to Kensington. I have an option, not an obligation. It came at no cost since I did not even solicit it. So I have a small, nay, nonexistent, downside, a big upside. This is a free option because there is no real cost to the privilege. Your Rent Second example: assume you are the official tenant of a rent-controlled apartment in New York City, with, of course, wall-to-wall bookshelves. You have the option of staying in it as long as you wish, but no obligation to do so. Should you decide to move to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, and start a new life there, you can simply notify the landlord a certain number of days in advance, and thank you goodbye. Otherwise, the landlord is obligated to let you live there somewhat permanently, at a predictable rent.

Alas, contemporary architecture is smooth, even when it tries to look whimsical. What is top-down is generally unwrinkled (that is, unfractal) and feels dead. Sometimes modernism can take a naturalistic turn, then stop in its tracks. Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona, from around the turn of the twentieth century, are inspired by nature and rich architecture (Baroque and Moorish). I managed to visit a rent-controlled apartment there: it felt like an improved cavern with rich, jagged details. I was convinced that I had been there in a previous life. Wealth of details, ironically, leads to inner peace. Yet Gaudi’s idea went nowhere, except in promoting modernism in its unnatural and naive versions: later modernistic structures are smooth and completely stripped of fractal jaggedness. I also enjoy writing facing trees, and, if possible, wild untamed gardens with ferns.


Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge by Cass R. Sunstein

affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Build a better mousetrap, c2.com, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market design, minimum wage unemployment, prediction markets, profit motive, rent control, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, slashdot, stem cell, The Wisdom of Crowds, winner-take-all economy

In all of these cases, there is reason to trust the people who are being asked, and hence the average answer is peculiarly likely to be right. But it would make no sense to make policy by asking everyone in the world whether the United States should sign the Kyoto Protocol, or whether genetic engineering poses serious risks, or whether a significant increase in the minimum wage would increase unemployment, or whether the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crime, or whether rent control policies help or hurt poor tenants. In these cases, there is a great risk that error and confusion at the individual level will be replicated at the level of group averages. The implications for group behavior and democracy are mixed. To the extent that the goal is to arrive at the correct judgments on facts, the Condorcet Jury Theorem affords no guarantees. In numerous domains, too many people are likely to blunder in systematic ways.


pages: 168 words: 9,044

You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing by John Scalzi

non-fiction novel, Occam's razor, place-making, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, zero-sum game

Money is not the only thing involved in a book deal. Be that as it may, here and now, $3K is a shitty amount of money. It's shitty in exchange for the amount of labor involved in writing a book, and it's shitty in the real world of paying rent, buying groceries and keeping the lights on. $3K is a nickel a word (or less, if you write more than 60,000 words). If you live in New York City or San Francisco and don't have rent control, $3K is a writer's monthly "nut"—i.e., your cost of living (note to writers: Get the hell out of NYC and SF). Lassen's exhortations of paltry book economics aside, no author wants to make $3,000 or less from their work. It's "I won't bring up what I was paid to the parents who wanted me to be an accountant" money. It's "I'll never be able to give up my day job" money. It's "I'm glad I've got a tolerant partner" money.


pages: 330 words: 77,729

Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes by Mark Skousen

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, experimental economics, financial independence, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, liberation theology, liquidity trap, means of production, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, open economy, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, pushing on a string, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

And land prices, like wages and capital goods, are determined by their marginal productivity—"at the margin"—allocated according to its most "productive" use (346-48). According to Clark, taxing away the value of land, even if unimproved, will drive capital out of land into housing, and misallocate capital in favor of housing. Rent and land prices help investors to allocate a scarce resource (land) to its most valued use in society. Rent controls and confiscatory land taxes can only create distortions in land use.2 Finally, Clark applied his marginal productivity theory to capital and interest. He differed strenuously with the Austrians on the structure of the capital markets, arguing that investment capital was a "permanent fund," like a big reservoir, where "the water that at this moment flows into one end of the pond causes an overflow from the other end" (Clark 1965 [ 1899], 313).


pages: 231 words: 76,283

Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way by Tanja Hester

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, anti-work, asset allocation, barriers to entry, buy and hold, crowdsourcing, diversification, estate planning, financial independence, full employment, gig economy, hedonic treadmill, high net worth, index fund, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, medical bankruptcy, mortgage debt, obamacare, passive income, post-work, remote working, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, stocks for the long run, Vanguard fund

Most people underestimate the costs of home ownership and are surprised by how much money they must pour into repairs, especially in the first few years of owning. And you may find yourself unable to move when you wish to if you aren’t able to sell your house at a fair price. On the other hand, when you rent, you aren’t building equity, you often can’t make changes to the property, and you benefit from no tax write-offs. Your rent can also go up unexpectedly, depending on local rent control rules. But for the majority of people, you’ll spend less money renting than buying, you won’t lock up huge sums of money in your investment, and you don’t have to deal with repairs yourself. And research shows that if you’re disciplined about investing the money you would be spending to buy in your market versus what it costs to rent, you can come out ahead of those who do buy their homes, because the stock markets tend to give better long-term returns than the housing market.


pages: 278 words: 82,069

Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, William Greider

Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, carried interest, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Exxon Valdez, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, John Meriwether, kremlinology, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

They have few rights even though the homeowner is the one who defaulted on a payment, not the renters themselves. Their situation is typical of the crisis’ impact on communities of color where, according to an ACORN study, African-American and Latino homeowners are more than three times as likely as whites to have a high-cost loan. Once evicted, former tenants find they have few rights. Unless they live in a city with rent control and are covered by eviction regulations, they are at the mercy of state laws, which give evicted tenants limited recourse. And the laws don’t look like they’ll change anytime soon. Bills and Remedies In late January, the California State Senate defeated a bill sponsored by Senator Don Perata (D) of Oakland that would have required banks to give 60 days notice to tenants in foreclosed properties.


pages: 362 words: 83,464

The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bob Noyce, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Graeber, deindustrialization, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, energy security, falling living standards, future of work, Gini coefficient, Google bus, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, McJob, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Buchheit, payday loans, Peter Calthorpe, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

In the future, it is not inconceivable that, in many markets, only the affluent—and those who inherit—who will be able to own homes. This has been the predominant way that the Yeomanry develops assets and establishes its independence. Without property, they essentially work to pay someone else’s mortgage. In many cities, affordable apartments can be had if your parents bought early or, in places like New York, you are able to use your parent’s rent-controlled units, which are often several times cheaper than market-rate ones. For those who don’t have such advantages, some have proposed a return to the boarding house, suggesting that we hurl away “middle-class norms of decency” governing housing and go back to the ad hoc ways in which many were forced to live during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.63 If current trends continue, when millennials move out of their parents’ houses, many may be forced to live in apartments they do not own, and probably never will have the chance to own.


pages: 307 words: 82,680

A Pelican Introduction: Basic Income by Guy Standing

bank run, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, intangible asset, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, labour market flexibility, land value tax, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, open economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, universal basic income, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working poor, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Paying individual housing costs would give people an incentive to move to expensive accommodation on retirement, when they qualified for the state pension. In the end, the post-war government decided to meet actual housing costs but to means-test claimants needing supplements above national insurance benefits based on contribution records. The ‘problem of rent’ is much worse today. In the early years of the welfare state, 60 per cent of the population lived in privately rented accommodation subject to strict rent controls, and an ambitious council house building programme was underway. Now, area differences in rents and house prices are much greater, rents in the private sector have soared, and the sale at a discount of council and social housing has resulted in a massive shortage of affordable homes. The cost of means-tested housing benefit has ballooned to some £25 billion a year. While Britain’s housing crisis needs to be tackled through urgent measures to boost affordable supply, it poses a difficulty here and now for the design of social protection systems.


pages: 310 words: 85,995

The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties by Paul Collier

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, assortative mating, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, bonus culture, business cycle, call centre, central bank independence, centre right, Commodity Super-Cycle, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, greed is good, income inequality, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, late capitalism, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, negative equity, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, rent control, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, too big to fail, trade liberalization, urban planning, web of trust, zero-sum game

A spectacular case was a couple of teachers who quit their jobs and accumulated a vast housing empire. The affluent and the smart have benefited from a double bonanza: being better able to borrow than young families, they can charge rents that exceed their interest payments. On top of this, as house prices have risen, they have accrued huge capital appreciation. So, what can be done about it? Again, ideology is a menace. Those on the left want to return to the rent controls of the 1940s; as then, this would freeze people into the home they are currently renting, reducing job mobility. Those on the right want to increase finance for first-time house purchase; by further fuelling demand, this would jack prices up yet further. Yet addressing this problem is not difficult, because we know what worked: the same policies would work again. It makes sense to increase supply, and the most credible way of doing so is to break the planning log-jam.


Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil

airport security, British Empire, invisible hand, rent control, trade route

In both situations, all that really counted was the achievement—in the first case because of its cathartic potency; in the latter because of its undiminished power to impress. What did that imply when it came to the welfare of others? In March 2007 I traveled to Brice’s home in Argentière, France, a quaint mountain hamlet a couple of miles upvalley from Chamonix. Brice put me up in his sister-in-law’s vacation condo; he and Caroline lived across town, in a modest but tasteful rent-controlled two-bedroom apartment. I spent a week visiting with them and others, including Brice’s old friend Harry Taylor, several members of the documentary film crew (who were in town to prep for Discovery Channel’s follow-up show on Himex), and Brice’s staff at Chamonix Experience, a.k.a. Chamex, the guiding business that he ran in tandem with Himalayan Experience. Chamex occupied a one-room office behind a ski shop on Argentière’s main drag, where Brice also operated a small coffee bar.


pages: 365 words: 88,125

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, borderless world, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, ending welfare as we know it, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, post-industrial society, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, rent control, shareholder value, short selling, Skype, structural adjustment programs, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

There are many other rules regulating various aspects of the exchange process: product liability, failure in delivery, loan default, and so on. In many countries, there are also necessary permissions for the location of sales outlets – such as restrictions on street-vending or zoning laws that ban commercial activities in residential areas. Then there are price regulations. I am not talking here just about those highly visible phenomena such as rent controls or minimum wages that free-market economists love to hate. Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the ‘free’ labour market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80–90 per cent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants. Immigration is largely settled by politics.


pages: 767 words: 208,933

Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist by Alex Zevin

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, Columbine, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, desegregation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, hiring and firing, imperial preference, income inequality, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, liberal capitalism, liberal world order, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Journalism, Norman Macrae, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, rent control, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, Yom Kippur War, young professional

The consequences of Marshall aid for the politics of post-war Britain were thus just as momentous as elsewhere in Europe, if less obvious. The Economist can tell us a great deal about them, in particular the way the centre of the extreme centre now shifted right. As Marshall aid began to flow, the Economist called for dismantling the restrictive microeconomic policies that the Labour government had carried over from the war – food subsidies, rationing, rent controls and industrial quotas – and by 1950–51, it was telling readers to vote Conservative, in order to end these ‘inflation-breeding’ distortions. If Keynes remained its preferred guide to macroeconomics, the Economist rejected interpretations of him that went beyond demand management. Labour was not to be entrusted even with that much.86 By 1955, Crowther was accusing Labour leaders of ‘surrendering common sense to doctrinaire obstinacy’ for refusing to admit the obvious wisdom of a shift in policy that Labour itself had initiated with health service charges and that the Conservatives had sensibly carried forward since 1951: the denationalization of steel, the lifting of price controls, and the rise in interest rates had all helped to tame inflation and plug holes in the balance of payments.

‘Britain will be a model for Europe if the Tories can boost productivity’: ‘Who Should Govern Britain?’, 30 April 2015. 136.‘If he had his way, he would be the most economically radical premier since Margaret Thatcher’: Ibid. 137.‘The Land that Labour Forgot’, 5 September 2015. ‘Only in the time-warp of Mr Corbyn’s hard-left fraternity could a programme of renationalisation and enhanced trade-union activism be the solution to inequality.’ Rent controls would ‘exacerbate the shortage’ in housing and a ‘people’s QE’ – after the quantitative easing undertaken by central banks to prop up asset prices and stimulate private lending after 2008 – ‘threatens to become an incontinent fiscal stimulus’. Scrapping university tuition fees ‘would be regressive and counterproductive’: ‘Backwards Comrades’, 19 September 2015. 138.‘The Way Ahead’, 8 October 2016. 139.


pages: 372 words: 96,474

Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States (P.S.) by Pete Jordan

big-box store, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, Haight Ashbury, index card, Kickstarter, Mason jar, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, wage slave

Though my knowledge of real estate was minimal, those numbers didn’t sound right. What little I did know was that in my hometown, housing prices were so high—and rising so rapidly—that it wasn’t just an impossibility for a dishman to buy a house there, but even renting was out of the question. In fact, not long before, as a result of the explosion in San Francisco’s housing prices, my parents had been evicted from their own rent-controlled apartment of twenty-three years. Yet each time I counted the zeros of the listed housing prices in Colby, unbelievably, the figures came out the same. It got me thinking. Between Kansan prices and Alaskan wages, maybe I could get a place of my own. Sitting smack in the middle of America, a house in Kansas could be used as a base of operations. It could be a hideaway to retreat to after dishwashing sprees up to Alaska or around the country.


pages: 384 words: 89,250

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade

Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, American ideology, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, global village, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, invention of radio, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the market place, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, white picket fence, women in the workforce

Their major innovation, however, was the introduction of long-term self-amortizing mortgages with uniform payments spread over the life of the debt. This development was to have a remarkable effect on American real estate after 1944, when section 505 of The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act (the GI Bill) guaranteed every veteran a fully finan ed mortgage for any home meeting FHA standards. Then in 1947, the Housing and Rent Act introduced rent controls to keep rental housing affordable. One consequence of this act was to make rental properties much less lucrative for investors, who turned their capital and energies to the construction and sale of privately owned homes. On the outer rings of cities where land was cheaper, suburban developments sprang up almost overnight, aimed at a new bluecollar mass market.26 Houses in this new suburbia were pared down to their most essential features, as developers found ways to economize on construction.


pages: 309 words: 91,581

The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah

assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

The same families didn’t necessarily occupy, say, the top 5 percent in incomes over multiple generations. Old fortunes were dissipated, and new fortunes sprang up to take their place. Another countervailing circumstance was that various government actions had worked to limit the concentration of wealth, either indirectly by permitting higher levels of inflation (which eroded the value of existing wealth) or directly through such policies as rent control and ceilings on long-term interest rates (which slowed wealth’s accumulation). Even when such government actions were not intended to redistribute income, Kuznets wrote, they nonetheless reflected “the view of society on the long-term utility of wide income inequalities. This view is a vital force that would operate in democratic societies even if there were no counteracting factors [italics mine].”


pages: 328 words: 92,317

Machinery of Freedom: A Guide to Radical Capitalism by David Friedman

back-to-the-land, Fractional reserve banking, hiring and firing, jitney, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, means of production, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Before discussing how a 'free-market university' would work, we must analyze what is essentially wrong with the present system. The lack of student power which the New Left deplores is a direct result of the success of one of the pet schemes of the old left, heavily subsidized schooling. Students in public universities and, to a lesser extent, in private ones do not pay the whole cost of their schooling. As a result the university does not need its students; it can always get more. Like a landlord under rent control, the university can afford to ignore the wishes and convenience of its customers. If the subsidies were abolished or converted into scholarships awarded to students, so that the university got its money from tuition, it would be in the position of a merchant selling his goods at their market price and thus constrained to sell what his customers most want to buy. That is the situation of market schools, such as Berlitz and the various correspondence schools, and that is how they act.


pages: 309 words: 87,414

Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke

clean water, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, rent control, sexual politics, trade route

, usage of 26 Pré Saint-Gervais: métro line 7bis 93 pre-Haussmann Paris, photographs 113 Prêcheurs, rue des 35 prehistoric settlement, Bercy 101–2 Prêtres, rue des 31 Prévôt, rue du 31, 34 Prison de la Santé 41 pronunciation, fashion terms 214–15 property buying 259, 262–78 ads, vocabulary 268n De Particulier à Particulier 266–7, 287 owners, buying from 267–78 prostitutes business records 168 Napoleon’s first amour 135 Palais-Royal gardens 135–6 part-time 162–3 squeezed out 7 Prouté, Paul, gallery 251–2, 287 Prussian siege 1870–1 55, 56, 70, 174, 177–9 public toilets, idiosyncratic usage 2, 40–2 publishing houses, intellectual 10 puns 64, 262, see also hairdressers’ names PSG, see Paris Saint-Germain Quai de la Rapée métro station 85 Quai de Loire MK2 131, 132, 284 Quai de Seine MK2 131, 284 Quartier de l’Horloge 8, 121 Queneau, Raymond (writer), Zazie dans le Métro 94, 290 queues general rules for conduct 20–1 supermarket checkouts 2 racaille 7 railways, urban 70–1 Ramponeau, rue 236 Ramuz, Charles Ferdinand (writer), Paris, Notes d’un Vaudois 18 RATP (Paris transport agency), flood preparations 62 rats, as part of Parisian cuisine 174, 177 Réaumur-Sébastopol métro station 83 redevelopment/remodelling 99–100, 101, 103–4 Fournel on 115–16 Haussmann 54, 58, 65, 101, 111–14 recent 121–3 redevelopment zones 234 regional cuisines 190 Renaissance Paris 107 Rennes, rue de 31 Renoir, Auguste (artist) 232, 240, 247 rent controls, loi de 1948, abolition 260–2 rented apartments, rules for conduct 24–5 République métro station 83 République square 150 RER (réseau express régional) 7, 69-70, 89 Resistance fighters, commemorative street plaques 35 restaurants and baguettes 185, 188 authentic 127 French cuisine, selecting 190–7 romantic 148–52 rules for conduct 19–20 Revolution, French 108–9, 110 and street-name signs 33 sex after 157–8 ‘revolutionary’ time 108 revolutions, French, various 111, 112, 114–15 rich people dressed down 9 Montmartre 15 old ladies 11 ostentatious 9–10 Richard, Pierre (actor) 225 Rimbaud, Arthur (poet) 89, 236 ring road, see boulevard périphérique 3 Ritz bar 147–8, 284 Rivoli, rue de 35, 133 road signs, see street signs Robert Esnault-Pelterie, rue 35–6 Rochefort, Jean (actor) 226 Roi de Sicile, rue du 32 Roman Paris 102–6 romance 125–53 or sex?


Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages by Derek Bickerton

colonial rule, dark matter, European colonialism, experimental subject, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, rent control

By an incredible stroke of luck-perhaps fate had decided to compensate me for the loss of my project-it landed on the desk of a sympathetic editor, Barbara Hammer, who promptly accepted it and got me a $5,000 advance. It may well have been the very last over-the-transom sale in the history of publishing. I'd like to be able to say it was a great book, but at least it kept the wolf from the door. Immediately $2,000 went to buy the furniture of an old man who was the tenant of a rent-controlled apartment on West Twenty-fifth Street but was going into a home. In return for this cash payment we took over his apartment and the ridiculously low rent that went with it. Illegal? Sure, but this was New York. And T 132 BASTARD TONGUES Yvonne was able to walk to work through the Bowery, stepping carefully over the bodies of drunks still clutching their empty bot~ tles of Thunderbird. Both Tom and I were immigrants, and fairly recent ones at that.


pages: 340 words: 92,904

Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars by Samuel I. Schwartz

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, car-free, City Beautiful movement, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Enrique Peñalosa, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, if you build it, they will come, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the wheel, lake wobegon effect, Loma Prieta earthquake, longitudinal study, Lyft, Masdar, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, oil shock, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, skinny streets, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, the built environment, the map is not the territory, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, Wall-E, white flight, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Zipcar

The velocity-time graphs used by physics students to study acceleration might look a little like the supply and demand curves that economics students use to study prices. They’re not. Demand curves can be manipulated. If we—and by “we” I mean all of us, acting through our local, state, and federal governments—decide to do so, we can alter the supply of most things, and thereby change their prices. If a rent-control law keeps prices below what people are willing to pay for housing, the housing supply contracts; if a new zoning law favors construction in a previously vacant area, the supply expands. Which is exactly what happened with the GI Bill’s requirement that government-guaranteed home loans go only to new construction, or the Eisenhower administration’s decision to build forty thousand miles of heavily subsidized highways.


pages: 291 words: 88,879

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg

big-box store, carbon footprint, David Brooks, deindustrialization, deskilling, employer provided health coverage, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, fear of failure, financial independence, fixed income, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

COMPARED WITH OTHER CITIES, New York City offers unusually generous public assistance for the elderly and the isolated. Practically every neighborhood has a senior center that serves lunches, organizes social events, and helps senior citizens enroll in public programs. Community groups and neighborhood organizations encourage people to age in naturally occurring retirement communities, which keep them from losing touch with friends, family, and local institutions; rent control policies, while weaker than they once were, allow retired people on fixed incomes to stay in their homes. Volunteer programs connect the retired healthy elderly with their less mobile counterparts, so that the visitors maintain a sense of purpose while the visited get a break from the monotony of long, solitary days. The Office of Emergency Management does special outreach for the elderly when the weather is dangerously hot or cold, and local postal workers check in with residents when mail accumulates in the box of an older person.


pages: 299 words: 88,375

Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America's First Cyber Spy by Eric O'Neill

active measures, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, computer age, cryptocurrency, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, full text search, index card, Internet of things, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, ransomware, rent control, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, thinkpad, web application, white picket fence, WikiLeaks, young professional

But sometimes the battle becomes the thing that keeps you together. Now that we’d won the war, we had to replace our shared struggle with something grander. Life together made our dank apartment seem brighter. We still missed the sprawling brownstone high above Adams Mill Road, and a stone’s throw away from the clubs and restaurants of Adams Morgan, but we had made this home together. Our cold, rent-controlled apartment was a palace as long as we shared it—at least until I was tasked to the Hanssen case. Now we were spending far too much time fighting, and had raised those swords against each other. I muttered into my steaming mug. “It’s tough stuff, kiddo,” Kate said. If anyone else had called me that, I would have blown my top. But Kate was becoming more like an older sister than a handler.


The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021 by Greg Clark

Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, congestion charging, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global value chain, haute cuisine, housing crisis, industrial cluster, intangible asset, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, place-making, rent control, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

From 2015, federal transfers account for less than a tenth of total City expenditure, while the New York state government provides less than a sixth. For this reason, Professor Tony Travers has argued, with only some exaggeration, that “[t]he mayor of New York is the city’s emperor. It is an amazingly powerful position, comparable in London terms to having virtually all the responsibilities of the mayor and boroughs added together, plus police, health, criminal justice, colleges, universities, rent control and water supply” (Travers, 2013a). Well over half of revenues in New York are generated from three taxes: real estate, sales and income. The income tax is structured similarly to the federal income tax, and ranges from 3–4 per cent. As such, New York City has a 168 London today and in the future relatively high reliance on non-property tax sources of revenue, comprising about two-thirds of all revenue, compared to just a quarter in other American cities (Chernick et al., 2010).


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Facing low returns elsewhere and concerned about the safety of financial instruments, investors have aggressively purchased residential real estate to rent out, increasingly pricing new owner-occupiers out of the housing market. A 2014 report by the McKinsey Global Institute highlighted the problem of housing affordability. It found that 330 million urban households around the world live in unsafe or inadequate housing, or are financially stressed by housing costs. The number is expected to rise to 440 million by 2025. The causes include property prices, land availability, development conditions, and rent controls. Even in rich cities like New York and London, many low- and middle-income households cannot afford basic housing and spend a high percentage (30–50) of their income on rent or mortgage repayments. The lack of affordable housing constrains economic activity, and decreases productivity by reducing labor mobility and increasing transportation times and costs. The availability of affordable, secure shelter is a basic right.


pages: 287 words: 92,118

The Blue Cascade: A Memoir of Life After War by Mike Scotti

call centre, collateralized debt obligation, Donald Trump, fixed income, friendly fire, index card, London Interbank Offered Rate, rent control

And the crackhead was just a little ashamed, but not so much anymore, because he had accepted his place in the order of things and was mostly just worried about whether or not I was going to call the cops. But the smell in the air in the hallway was similar to the smell of the vehicles burning and the dead on the side of the road. Sleep comes fully clothed and with the laptop resting on my lap, as the guy who lives above me, a holdover from the sixties on rent control and paying a third of what I pay, does a bunch of blow and decides to rearrange his furniture or fuck his girlfriend or dance and whoop. And across the courtyard, a few floors above me, a puppy yaps and yaps and then cries out like the baby in her mother’s arms I saw silhouetted against the moon and across the barbed wire as I tried to sleep in the dirt in the battalion perimeter just off of Route 7.


pages: 332 words: 89,668

Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

As editor of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, he advised black Americans to create and patronize businesses catering almost exclusively to the black community.104 Similarly, Marcus Garvey, founder of the popular United Negro Improvement Association, advocated black separatism, entrepreneurialism, and ultimately, migration to Africa.105 PROGRESSIVISM, “AMERICANISM,” AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR World War I produced the first impressive contraction of inequality in the twentieth century. As men joined the war effort and left the domestic labor market, the wages for unskilled labor rose. Higher-skilled and white-collar workers with longer contracts that were less responsive to inflation found that their pay did not keep up. At the same time, the government experimented with price controls, rent control, and excess-profits taxes.106 Ironically, however, even as actual inequality temporarily decreased, Americans backed away from the discussions about the importance of fostering equality. During World War I, the government reached out to the AFL while at the same time cracking down on the IWW, which was branded as subversive. The National War Labor Board recognized the legality of collective bargaining and encouraged mediation in order to avoid strikes during wartime.


pages: 371 words: 93,570

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans

"side hustle", 4chan, Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, colonial rule, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Doomsday Book, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, East Village, Edward Charles Pickering, game design, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, old-boy network, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pets.com, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, rolodex, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y2K

We do that for buildings where poets and painters lived or died. Why not software and servers? I am suddenly moved by the idea: here lived Echo, where New Yorkers loved and laughed and complained and told one another just how much they hated themselves, and why. When we finally do get a chance to talk, Stacy tells me a story about Perry Street. She has an expressive Long Island accent cemented by three decades as a rent-controlled Manhattanite. When she speaks, you can hear the italics. Telling me about how her neighborhood has changed over the decades, she inflects at pointed intervals. “There were laundromats, delis, and all of that is gone,” she says. “I have to walk forever to get to the laundromat, which is a drag.” In 1990, back when Greenwich Village was still a neighborhood, Echo was still a server in Stacy’s apartment.


pages: 342 words: 90,734

Mysteries of the Mall: And Other Essays by Witold Rybczynski

additive manufacturing, airport security, Buckminster Fuller, City Beautiful movement, edge city, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, Jane Jacobs, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, New Urbanism, out of africa, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Eisenman, rent control, Silicon Valley, the High Line, urban renewal, young professional

Housing vouchers are an attractive solution inasmuch as they get municipal governments out of the housing business, but there are drawbacks: the poor are not as mobile as the middle class and cannot seek out the best housing opportunities (in that sense, housing vouchers are different from food stamps), nor are commercial builders eager to provide new rental housing at rock-bottom rates, at least not while they are subject to rent control. Others have proposed that the government assist poor people in purchasing houses or in forming housing cooperatives. While this might help some families, the added burden of homeownership is a questionable benefit for those already battered by the multiple difficulties of poverty. (There is also a political obstacle: in America, homeownership has always been considered an economic reward, not a right.)


pages: 342 words: 99,390

The greatest trade ever: the behind-the-scenes story of how John Paulson defied Wall Street and made financial history by Gregory Zuckerman

1960s counterculture, banking crisis, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, financial innovation, fixed income, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Ponzi scheme, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, technology bubble, zero-sum game

Others argued that Paulson’'s actions indirectly led to more dangerous CDO investments, resulting in billions of dollars of additional losses for those who owned the CDO slices when the market finally cratered. In truth, Paulson and Pellegrini still were unsure if their growing trade would ever pan out. They thought the CDOs and other risky mortgage debt would become worthless, Paulson says. “"But we still didn’'t know.”" 10. ANDREW LAHDE WAS OUT OF WORK IN THE SUMMER OF 2006, HE had little left in his savings account, and he was stuck in a cramped one-bedroom, rent-controlled apartment. But Lahde was convinced he had at least one thing of value: a trade that was sure to make him a fortune. He just couldn’'t get anyone to believe him. The thirty-five-year-old had been let go by Los Angeles investment firm Dalton Capital, after a series of clashes with his boss and an abrupt shuttering of the hedge fund that Lahde was working on. He wasn’'t very concerned, at least initially.


pages: 307 words: 96,974

Rats by Robert Sullivan

Louis Pasteur, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, trade route, urban renewal, yellow journalism

Dave Davis applauds Milwaukee's rodent control in an article in the Milwaukee Journal entitled "Rat Program of City Praised," which appeared on March 30, 1968. In 1971, Milwaukee's rat control program was rated among the best of eleven cities surveyed by the federal department of Health, Education, and Welfare, according to the Journal of September 11, 1971 (the early edition of the paper accidentally referred to the program praised as a rent control program). The quote on the monument at the Wisconsin Workers Memorial was originally taken from a book called The Rise of Labor and Wisconsin's Little New Deal. That Milwaukee lost some sixty thousand jobs in the recession between 1979 and 1982 came from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. When I met with Don Schaewe, he demonstrated an experimental rat-hole-activity monitoring technique—crumpling a ball of paper and stuffing it into a rat hole and returning the next day to see if the paper has been expelled.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

More are living in overcrowded or inadequate accommodation; more young adults are living with parents, unable to set up a household of their own; and homelessness is increasing, including among families with children. In Britain and elsewhere, low interest rates and tax breaks have propelled property prices to levels that have put home ownership out of reach for many and, coupled with the abolition or erosion of rent controls, generated an increasingly expensive private rental market. Landlordism has become a feature of global rentier capitalism. It has not been resurrected by chance or by free markets. The UK’s present housing crisis has its origins in Thatcher’s decision in the 1980s to give council tenants the ‘right to buy’ their homes at a substantial discount, a subsidy scheme that decimated the stock of social housing.


The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape by Brian Ladd

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, full employment, New Urbanism, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, urban planning, urban renewal

Many Turkish workers moved in during the 1960s and 1970s, as did German students, artists, anarchists, and punks. The new residents recognized what official policy long denied: that the buildings were solid, adaptable, and represented the irreplaceable handiwork of craftsmen. By the 1980s, they were more sought-after than the postwar highrises nearby. Rents in these buildings were kept particularly low by rent controls enacted during the severe housing shortage after the war. West Berlin leftists suspected that the government was colluding with developers who wished to let the old buildings fall into disrepair until they could be demolished and replaced with more profitable structures. In 1980 squatters began to move into abandoned buildings, which then became centers of protest against everything from housing policies to exploitation of the Third World.


pages: 313 words: 100,317

Berlin Now: The City After the Wall by Peter Schneider, Sophie Schlondorff

Berlin Wall, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, mass immigration, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, young professional

Eighty percent of its buildings—mostly six-story residential structures with apartments without individual bathrooms and a communal toilet on the landing—had survived largely unscathed. The communist regime had dispossessed the vast majority of private owners. Only a few avoided this fate; the Kommunale Wohnungsverwaltung (KWV)—Communal Housing Administration—managed most of the apartments. Those owners who did manage to hold on to their property titles were punished through rent control, which kept their income from tenants so low that it didn’t even cover the cost of repairs. The buildings deteriorated so rapidly that the authorities lost track of which apartments were even still habitable. Young families and tenants who believed in the “real socialism” were drawn to the newly erected Plattenbauten in Hellersdorf, Marzahn, and Hohenschönhausen. There they found apartments that, even though they had lower ceilings, featured bathrooms, toilets, central heating, and television outlets.


Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

affirmative action, back-to-the-land, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, East Village, Howard Zinn, Lao Tzu, rent control, Telecommunications Act of 1996, walkable city

But there was never a restaurant that I would just wake up and go kick it at as a kid. Besides McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Chick-fil-A, restaurants were for old people. I wanted Baohaus to be a youth culture restaurant that the neighborhood could post up at. Not moms and dads and nine-to-fivers, but the kids across the street, the freelancers, the unemployed, and the people that hung in the neighborhood because they’d scammed their way into rent-controlled apartments. At the core of Baohaus would be this truth: no one would kick you out, call the cops, or serve you shitty 7-Eleven pressed Cubans. Most restaurateurs you talk to, the food comes first. It really didn’t with me. Food was never the issue. My food was, is, and always will be ill. New York was full of restaurants with good food, but few with a mind. You read the dining section in the Times and it’s the stepchild of the style section.


Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson

Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, linked data, low cost airline, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, mass immigration, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Some nations may even abolish the option of retirement altogether or refuse to use state funds to support asset-rich, income-poor citizens. Personally, I think that technology will eventually come to the rescue and productivity rates will soar as a result, thereby funding retirement requirements. I also think that people will simply adjust and learn to live on less with less. Real estate, for example, is not a god-given right and many more people may decide to live in government- or company-owned, rent-controlled apartments. We may lease or borrow more products too. Rather than lending to buy real estate outright, lenders may “give” people property free of charge or at a low monthly cost, then take some or all of the future capital gains. Indeed, perhaps we will see a return to a feudal model whereby property or land is owned by your employer and must be returned once your employment ceases. Of course, this could be a recipe for social unrest — as it was the last time it was tried — although maybe certain safeguards could be built in or tied to the length of your employment.


pages: 305 words: 101,743

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, big-box store, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, financial independence, game design, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Norman Mailer, obamacare, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, rent control, Saturday Night Live, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, wage slave, white picket fence

In the seventies, he was sued by Richard Nixon’s Department of Justice after crafting policies to keep black people out of his housing projects. In 1980, he hired two hundred undocumented Polish immigrants to clear the ground for Trump Tower, putting them to work without gloves or hard hats, and sometimes having them sleep on-site. In 1981, he bought a building on Central Park South, hoping to convert rent-controlled apartments into luxury condos; when the tenants wouldn’t leave, he issued illegal eviction notices, cut off their heat and hot water, and placed newspaper ads offering to house the homeless in the building. He has a long history of stiffing his waiters, his construction workers, his plumbers, his chauffeurs. He once rented out his name to a couple of scammers named Irene and Mike Milin, who ran the Trump Institute, a “wealth-creation workshop” that plagiarized its materials and declared bankruptcy in 2008.


pages: 415 words: 103,801

The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China by Jonathan Kaufman

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Steve Jobs, trade route

Shanghai’s powerful foreign millionaires, he concluded, had erred in ignoring the suffering of the city’s Chinese residents and the gross economic inequality that was fueling revolution. It was perhaps the realization that he himself had lost so much, and that so much of the family fortune now stood at risk as the Communists advanced on Shanghai. The radical free-market outlook Lawrence had embraced in Shanghai yielded to one that at times looked more like the New Deal, with government stepping in to repair and rebuild the city. He backed government rent controls to stop Hong Kong landlords from profiteering and chaired a committee that drew up plans to build a new fire station for Kowloon, a new police headquarters, an immigration office, a new post office and mail-sorting station, a new abattoir for slaughtering pork, and a new mental hospital. Next, he tackled transportation. He oversaw the distribution of 300,000 questionnaires to Hong Kong’s Chinese citizens asking them how to improve ferry service—the first time Chinese residents had been asked their opinion.


Corbyn by Richard Seymour

anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, first-past-the-post, full employment, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, liberal world order, mass immigration, means of production, moral panic, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Philip Mirowski, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, working-age population, éminence grise

Labour under his leadership was elected to government on an ambitious project for full employment and public investment, breaking thirteen years of uninterrupted Conservative rule. At first, everything seemed to be going exceptionally well, despite the tiny parliamentary majority with which the government was formed. Labour began to implement its National Plan for industry, secured agreement with the CBI and TUC, and implemented many of its policies including pension increases, rent controls and the abolition of prescription charges. This may not have been the sweeping transformation of 1945, but with the Tory opposition scattered and in decline, there was reason to be optimistic. Further, despite the enduring influence of Gaitskellite revisionism and the talk of ‘affluence’, the limits of the post-1945 settlement were becoming visible – the existence of a wide swathe of impoverished people, especially pensioners, was recognised.38 Even the early attempts by Lord Cromer, the Governor of the Bank of England and a close ally of the City, to force a reverse in policy were seen off.


pages: 393 words: 91,257

The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin

Admiral Zheng, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, don't be evil, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, European colonialism, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google bus, guest worker program, Hans Rosling, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, liberal capitalism, life extension, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, megacity, Nate Silver, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Parag Khanna, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, post-work, postindustrial economy, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Satyajit Das, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator

Atlantic, April 19, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/04/san-francisco-city-apps-built-or-destroyed/587389/; Dave Clark, “San Francisco’s Black population is less than 5 percent, exodus has been steady,” KTVU, November 24, 2016, http://www.ktvu.com/news/san-franciscos-black-population-is-less-than-5-percent-exodus-has-been-steady. 30 Kathleen Maclay, “More gentrification, displacement in Bay Area forecast,” Berkeley News, August 24, 2015, https://news.berkeley.edu/2015/08/24/more-gentrification-displacement-in-bay-area-forecast/; Sam Levin, “‘Largest-ever’ Silicon Valley eviction to displace hundreds of tenants,” Guardian, July 7, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/07/silicon-valley-largest-eviction-rent-controlled-tenants-income-inequality; Rong-Gong Lin II and Gale Holland, “Silicon Valley homeless no longer welcome in ‘the Jungle,’” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2014, https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-silicon-valley-homeless-20141204-story.html. 31 John Barber, “Toronto Divided: A tale of three cities,” Globe and Mail, December 20, 2007, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto-divided-a-tale-of-3-cities/article18151444/. 32 Kat Hanna and Nicolas Bosetti, “Inside Out: The New Geography of Wealth and Poverty in London,” Centre for London, December 2015, https://www.centreforlondon.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/CFLJ3887-Inside-out-inequality_12.125_WEB.pdf; Rupert Neate, “Rich overseas parents buy £2bn of property to get top school places,” Guardian, September 5, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/05/wealthy-overseas-parents-london-property-private-school-places. 33 David Goodhart, The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics (London: Penguin, 2017), 135–39. 34 Sako Musterd et al., “Socioeconomic segregation in European capital cities.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Beyond the political challenges and risks associated with a general disincentive to work, there is also the question of the impact a basic income might have on housing costs in high-rent areas. Imagine giving every resident of a city like New York, San Francisco, or London an extra thousand dollars per month. There are probably good reasons to expect that a very large fraction of that increase—perhaps nearly all of it—would eventually end up in the pockets of landlords as residents compete for scarce housing. There are no easy solutions to this problem. Rent control is one possibility, but it comes with lots of documented downsides. Many economists have called for relaxing zoning restrictions so that denser housing can be built, but this is sure to be opposed by existing residents. There is a counteracting force, however. A guaranteed income, unlike a job, would be mobile. Some people would be very likely to take their income and move away from expensive areas in search of a lower cost of living.


pages: 273 words: 34,920

Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values by Sharon Beder

anti-communist, battle of ideas, business climate, corporate governance, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, income inequality, invisible hand, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Powell Memorandum, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, risk/return, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, spread of share-ownership, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Torches of Freedom, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, young professional

Monetarism and the natural rate of unemployment were therefore policies that aimed to serve the top end of town. Monetarism appealed to free market ideologues because it reduced the role of government in the economy. Similarly, it aided the argument against government spending and social programmes, which free market advocates railed against. Friedman was against all government interventions in the market including tariffs, rent controls, minimum wages, regulation, social security, public housing, national parks, and government provision of infrastructure and services such as post offices and roads. Monetarism was also attractive to free market advocates because it explained the Great Depression in terms of government failure rather than market failure – that is, the failure of the Federal Reserve to manage money supply properly, rather than declining demand, overproduction and income inequality in the market.22 The pursuit of monetarism also had a marked political agenda.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

There hasn’t been a phase transition in the mathematical sense, but as dimension is scaled up, the system shifts in a way we don’t intuitively expect. I call these types of changes “scale transitions,” unexpected outcomes resulting from increases in scale. For example, increases in the number of people interacting in a system can produce unforeseen outcomes: The operation of markets at large scales is often counterintuitive. Think of the restrictive effect that rent-control laws can have on the supply of affordable rental housing, or how minimum-wage laws can reduce the availability of low-wage jobs. (James Flynn gives “markets” as an example of a “shorthand abstraction”; here I am interested in the often counterintuitive operation of a market system at large scale.) Think of the serendipitous effects of enhanced communication—for example, collaboration and interpersonal connection generating unexpected new ideas and innovation; or the counterintuitive effect of massive computation in science reducing experimental reproducibility as data and code have proved harder to share than their descriptions.


pages: 353 words: 110,919

The Road to Character by David Brooks

Cass Sunstein, coherent worldview, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, follow your passion, George Santayana, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, New Journalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile

Susanna chose a flamboyant green dress and wore her hair piled wildly atop her head, with garish flowers adorning her hair and neck. “I have given way to morbid superstition that I am the cause of others’ nervous collapse, my husband, my daughter,” Perkins confessed. “[It] frightens and oppresses me.”37 Susanna was never really able to work and was supported by Frances. Even at age seventy-seven, Frances turned over her rent-controlled apartment in New York so that Susanna would have a place to live. She had to take a job to pay her daughter’s bills. Every virtue can come with its own accompanying vice. The virtue of reticence can yield the vice of aloofness. Perkins was not emotionally vulnerable to those close to her. Her public vocation never completely compensated for her private solitude. Duty New York’s Governor Al Smith was Perkins’s first and greatest political love.


pages: 300 words: 106,520

The Nanny State Made Me: A Story of Britain and How to Save It by Stuart Maconie

banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, housing crisis, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, North Sea oil, Own Your Own Home, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent

Indeed, it’s making us sick. ‘We’re stuck with this obsession about being a property-owning democracy,’ says Lynsey Hanley regretfully, ‘this notion that full citizenship only goes with owning property, even to the extent that you couldn’t vote once if you didn’t own property. So now for the first time in fifty years, there are more and more people at the mercy of private landlords, without rent controls by and large, than in social housing. The government subsidises these landlords and the banks make it easier to get buy-for-rent mortgages. OK, both the Labour and Tory 2017 election manifestos promised that large numbers of council housing must and would be built. But they still said the priority is to build affordable housing to buy. They both think they have to keep alive that distant dream for people.’


pages: 332 words: 106,197

The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions by Jason Hickel

Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, David Attenborough, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, dematerialisation, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, European colonialism, falling living standards, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Zinn, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land value tax, liberal capitalism, Live Aid, Mahatma Gandhi, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration

This new system relied on a class compromise between capital and labour: the state would guarantee strong rights and good wages in exchange for a docile, productive workforce that would have sufficient money to consume mass-produced goods, thereby keeping the economy stable and growing.7 As part of the New Deal, the United States also implemented a universal Social Security programme, provided affordable housing and, with the GI Bill, handed out large university tuition subsidies for veterans. In Britain, a growing union movement – propelled largely by coal miners – brought to power Clement Atlee’s Labour Party, which rolled out the National Health Service, free education, public housing, rent controls and a comprehensive social security system, as well as nationalising the mines and the railways. Many politicians on the right were willing to go along with it, hoping that granting the working class a fairer deal would stave off the social discontent they feared might spark a Soviet-style revolution. They also hoped it might prevent the rise of fascism, which had attracted Germans beleaguered by their severe economic crisis.


pages: 870 words: 259,362

Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston

Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, continuous integration, deindustrialization, deskilling, Etonian, full employment, garden city movement, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labour mobility, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, occupational segregation, price mechanism, rent control, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional

Today there are no empty houses yet many have been abandoned by their owners.’4. There were two principal reasons why the private landlord was, in some cities anyway, in almost headlong retreat. Firstly, a welter of rent-control legislation, going back to 1915 and involving a freezing of rent levels from 1939, was indeed a significant deterrent. ‘Before the war, people were willing to pay between one-quarter and one-sixth of their income on rent,’ noted the Economist’s Elizabeth Layton in 1951. ‘Now they are not so prepared because they have become accustomed to living cheaply in rent-controlled houses and do not appreciate that, while incomes have increased, rents have lagged behind what is required to keep old property in repair or to cover the annual outgoings of new houses.’ Undoubtedly at work was an instinctive, widespread dislike of the private landlord, and this sentiment particularly affected the second reason for the rented sector’s difficulties: namely, government reluctance to help much when it came to making grants for improvements and repairs.


pages: 341 words: 116,854

The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square by James Traub

Anton Chekhov, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, fear of failure, intangible asset, Jane Jacobs, jitney, light touch regulation, megastructure, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, rent control, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal

Seymour was a character, a gaunt and gray-haired figure who walked everywhere, cut his own hair, wore his clothes until they were threadbare, and generally lived like an anchorite. He was a kind of homespun philosopher who kept his pockets stuffed with folded-up papers upon which he had scribbled his thoughts on the great issues of the day, and which he would withdraw with a flourish as the conversation turned to the relevant topic. He sent an endless stream of letters to The New York Times, often on the subject of rent control, which he considered the root of all housing evils. Seymour often purchased tiny advertisements at the bottom of the front page—“bottom lines,” the family called them—in order to ensure that his views got the airing they deserved. Seymour could be extraordinarily creative in finding venues in which to ride his various hobbyhorses: in 1989 he mounted what he called the Debt Clock, on a building he owned just east of Times Square, in order to tick off the growing federal debt.


pages: 366 words: 117,875

Arrival City by Doug Saunders

agricultural Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, call centre, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, Hernando de Soto, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Kibera, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, new economy, Pearl River Delta, pensions crisis, place-making, price mechanism, rent control, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, white flight, working poor, working-age population

Subhashini was the child of a veteran arrival-city family, a gregarious woman of singular self-confidence, and she made it a well-organized project, from her marriage at 18, to get her family out of the slum. His annual salary of $6,600 was not going to be enough to do it. The Parabs encountered two problems that are endemic across the world of arrival cities: an illiberal property market rigidly reined in by zoning and rent-control regulations and ownership restrictions, and an underdeveloped credit market that makes proper mortgage loans available only to the very highest-income groups. One set of restrictions discouraged anyone from building or selling homes affordable to the lower middle class (or to almost anyone, as millions of Mumbai home buyers have discovered); the other made it impossible for the Parabs to get a home loan of any sort, even with a sizable down payment.


pages: 395 words: 115,753

The Metropolitan Revolution: The Rise of Post-Urban America by Jon C. Teaford

anti-communist, big-box store, conceptual framework, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, East Village, edge city, estate planning, Golden Gate Park, Gunnar Myrdal, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, rent control, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, young professional

It was, then, a far cry from the stereotypical family-oriented, home-owning suburb, but in 1984 it chose to join the ranks of suburban municipalities, becoming the eighty-fourth city in Los Angeles County. Rebelling against existing rule by Los Angeles County authorities, the renter population, both homosexual and heterosexual, was especially dissatisfied with the weak protection afforded by the county’s rent control ordinance. Moreover, that modest safeguard against rent inflation was due to expire the following year, leaving West Hollywood tenants vulnerable to escalating housing costs. Yet many West Hollywood residents also viewed incorporation as a welcome means to gay empowerment (figures 5.3 and 5.4). “West Hollywood is journey’s end for a wave of refugees from sexual tyranny as practiced in most parts of middle America,” observed the Nation, and incorporation would provide these gay refugees with an independent homeland, a center of gay power.72 On election day 1984, West Hollywood’s voters not only approved incorporation by an overwhelming majority but also selected a five-person city council, three of whom were homosexuals.


pages: 453 words: 117,893

What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today's Biggest Problems by Linda Yueh

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population

Capitalism and Freedom was largely collated from his Volker Lectures given between 1956 and 1961, organized by the William Volker Fund to promote libertarian views, and was strongly influenced by John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. The book argued for a limited role for government in a free society with more to be done by the market. He highlighted a number of unjustified activities of government. The list included unnecessary intervention in markets. Friedman opposed price support for agriculture, tariffs, rent control, minimum wages, maximum ceiling prices and fixed exchange rates. He also opposed direct government involvement in the economy, highlighting the detailed regulation of industry, the control of radio and television, toll roads, public housing and national parks, and the legal prohibition of carrying mail for profit as examples of taking government too far. Friedman was also in favour of the legalization of drugs, school vouchers, health saving accounts and an end to conscription in peacetime.


pages: 374 words: 113,126

The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today by Linda Yueh

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population

Capitalism and Freedom was largely collated from his Volker Lectures given between 1956 and 1961, organized by the William Volker Fund to promote libertarian views, and was strongly influenced by John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. The book argued for a limited role for government in a free society with more to be done by the market. He highlighted a number of unjustified activities of government. The list included unnecessary intervention in markets. Friedman opposed price support for agriculture, tariffs, rent control, minimum wages, maximum ceiling prices and fixed exchange rates. He also opposed direct government involvement in the economy, highlighting the detailed regulation of industry, the control of radio and television, toll roads, public housing and national parks, and the legal prohibition of carrying mail for profit as examples of taking government too far. Friedman was also in favour of the legalization of drugs, school vouchers, health saving accounts and an end to conscription in peacetime.


pages: 378 words: 120,490

Roads to Berlin by Cees Nooteboom, Laura Watkinson

Berlin Wall, centre right, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, rent control

It is dark, the tall buildings have shed their irrepressible ugliness and are casting a circle of light around us. He speaks about the mistakes that have been made, the renewal of the party, which is far from complete, about what, in spite of everything, has been achieved over the past forty years, about the reparations that the East has been obliged to pay, but the West has not, about property and rent control, about the certainties that will disappear. I look at the faces around me. They are listening, all seriousness. He does not shout, barely argues, employs no demagogic tactics, neither does he suggest how the problems might be solved. Here is someone who is talking against the flow of history, but that does not mean that he represents nothing. Two days later, I see him again. The cards have been reshuffled.


pages: 385 words: 118,901

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar

Bernie Madoff, Donald Trump, family office, fear of failure, financial deregulation, hiring and firing, income inequality, light touch regulation, locking in a profit, margin call, medical residency, mortgage debt, p-value, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, rent control, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Predators' Ball

They dated for the next several months. Some of Patricia’s friends couldn’t understand what she was doing with Cohen, who seemed so unsophisticated, a money-obsessed schlub from Long Island. But Patricia had grown up without money, and she hadn’t finished high school. She knew what it was like to worry about paying for all her expenses. She was supporting herself working for a publishing company and had a rent-controlled apartment in the West Village. She wasn’t unhappy, but there was no denying that Cohen’s drive for riches was attractive. She didn’t have a clue about the stock market, but he talked about it endlessly, boasting about how much money he planned to make. He said that he would take care of her. Cohen, for his part, had little else going on in his life. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment where most of the lightbulbs were burned out.


pages: 457 words: 125,329

Value of Everything: An Antidote to Chaos The by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cleantech, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, European colonialism, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, G4S, George Akerlof, Google Hangouts, Growth in a Time of Debt, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, rent control, rent-seeking, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software patent, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

In the other, all houses are owned (in the US and UK a larger percentage of people own than rent). Since real estate adds value and income (rent) from the actual rent charged (as opposed to the ‘imputed rent' calculated), the first country would have an unfairly high GDP compared to the other, at least in terms of the percentage of GDP deriving from property. From a different perspective - one that sees no greater value in renting over owning a house, especially when there is no rent control - we could equally well ask why real-estate rents should add value in the first place. Another valid question is why a hike in rent should increase the value produced by real-estate agencies, especially if the quality of the rental service is not improving. London and New York City tenants, for example, know only too well that property management services do not improve even though rents rise - in London's case, rapidly in recent years.32 It's also worth noting that the national accounts treat property and real estate (both residential and commercial) as comparable to a firm.


pages: 405 words: 112,470

Together by Vivek H. Murthy, M.D.

Airbnb, call centre, cognitive bias, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, gig economy, income inequality, index card, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, stem cell, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft

Being connected to others gives us a stake in more than our own interests. It expands those interests to include our whole community and thus increases our motivation to work together. By the same token, the absence of connection that accompanies loneliness makes us less likely to participate in civic engagement. We tend to ignore or shrug off problems that don’t affect anyone we know. Why help clean up a park in a stranger’s neighborhood? Why pay attention to rent control issues if we know no one who rents? Why even bother voting if we don’t know anyone who might be affected by the ballot choices? This is why the kind of microdemocracy that de Tocqueville described matters so much: because it gives everyone a shared stake in the future. What Matthew and Derek and their college friends established was indeed a microdemocracy. Without it, they might never have been able to overcome their political differences.


pages: 363 words: 123,076

The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution by Marc Weingarten

1960s counterculture, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, Donner party, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Haight Ashbury, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, post-work, pre–internet, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, working poor, yellow journalism

Manhattan’s inhabitants were obstinately proud to call themselves New Yorkers, but they were also urban survivalists; their self-preservation skills were a crucial test of their commitment to enduring the best city on the planet. New York would be a how-to guide for this white, upwardly mobile demographic segment. A subscription solicitation that ran in the magazine in early 1969 trumpeted New York’s attributes. “We’ll show you how to get a rent-controlled, semi-professional apartment, even though you’re not a semi-professional person,” the copy read. “We’ll tell you how to go about getting your kid into private school with confidence, even though you graduated from P.S. 165.” Previous issues had addressed status (the December 9, 1968, cover featured a white-collar beggar in a Burberry coat holding a tin cup and a sign that read I MAKE $80,000 A YEAR AND I’M BROKE), but now Felker would push it harder.


pages: 400 words: 129,320

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer, Jim Mason

agricultural Revolution, air freight, clean water, collective bargaining, dumpster diving, food miles, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, means of production, rent control, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review

he is said to have asked, then answering himself: "Get a live hose and stick it in his mouth."' So when, in the early 1990s, a New York animal activist named Henry Spira decided to try to pressure McDonald's into developing less inhumane ways of raising the animals, he knew it wasn't going to be easy. Spira was essentially a oneman-band, running an organization called Animal Rights International that had no paid staff and no office except the modest, rent-controlled New York apartment in which Spira lived. But Spira knew what it was like to take on the big boys. He had been involved in the civil rights movements in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. As a sailor in the merchant marines, he had been part of a reform group battling a corrupt union boss who was not averse to hiring thugs to beat up his opponents. He took up the cause of animals in his late forties and applied the lessons he had learned in his earlier struggles.


pages: 492 words: 118,882

The Blockchain Alternative: Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Theory by Kariappa Bheemaiah

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, cellular automata, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, constrained optimization, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, deskilling, Diane Coyle, discrete time, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, inventory management, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, precariat, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, profit maximization, QR code, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Real Time Gross Settlement, rent control, rent-seeking, Satoshi Nakamoto, Satyajit Das, savings glut, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, supply-chain management, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Washington Consensus

This brings us back full circle to the topics that were discussed in the beginning of this chapter (refer to Sidebar 3-1). While initially we were looking at technology from the vantage point of markets, regulations, and policy—the pillars of capitalism—looking at the minutiae of a single strand of technology brings us to same conclusion. Technology’s impact on jobs is the big yellow elephant in the room. Moreover, as technology continues to grow and evolve, it provides benefits to a few (who extort rent controls from it) and 141 Chapter 3 ■ Innovating Capitalism eliminates labor in the process. The charts in Figure 3-5 are from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. They help us see this paradigmatic shift in process. Notice the way employment and profits have taken distinctly opposing trajectories since the crisis. Figure 3-5. Comparative charts of employment and corporate profit over the last 10 years This trend is to be expected.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

Every major bank suffered substantial losses, and some, such as Washington Mutual, which had specialised in housing finance, failed altogether. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two parastatal agencies that dominated US housing finance, collapsed. The share of owner-occupation in the housing stock declined for the first time in a century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, most households – not just low-income households – rented their homes. But landlords have always been unpopular. A history of rent control, and legislation that limited the rights and extended the obligations of landlords, reduced the economic and political attractions of investment in housing, while tax advantages made owner-occupation an attractive means of saving. And owners tend to be better occupiers. By the end of the twentieth century owner-occupation had become the norm. So today most houses are owned by the people who live in them.


pages: 503 words: 126,355

Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright

Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Mahatma Gandhi, open borders, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Yom Kippur War

Unlike her tempestuous husband, who was often subject to fits of depression or euphoria as well as explosions of fury, Aliza was always controlled and calculating, her huge unblinking eyes behind thick tinted lenses rarely betraying any doubt of the rightness of her husband’s calling, even through his years in the underground, in prison, and on the political fringe. Despite her chronic asthma she smoked incessantly, and frequently resorted to the inhaler in her purse. If Carter had been hoping that Aliza would moderate her husband’s views, he miscalculated. She was known by the Israeli delegation to be a staunch ideologue. For three decades before Begin became prime minister the couple lived in a rent-controlled, three-room ground-floor flat in north Tel Aviv, on an income of about five hundred dollars a month. While they were raising their three children, the couple slept on a fold-out couch in the living room. Unlike the wives of previous prime ministers, who sometimes sought power for themselves, Aliza strained to keep out of the public eye. She made her own clothes and loved to cook. Even when her husband was prime minister, she insisted on riding the public bus whenever she traveled between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.


pages: 432 words: 124,635

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, City Beautiful movement, clean water, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, East Village, edge city, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, experimental subject, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, license plate recognition, McMansion, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, starchitect, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, wage slave, white flight, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The Woodward’s block’s street edges may be disappointingly bare, but inside that block is a grand public atrium through which the entire spectrum of neighbors pass and occasionally mingle, while students take shots at the basketball hoop at its heart. Woodward’s has proved so convivial that it has accelerated gentrification in the area, but it has done so while locking two hundred affordable homes in place. It’s not enough to nudge the market toward equity. Governments must step in with subsidized social housing, rent controls, initiatives for housing cooperatives, or other policy measures. I don’t want to stray beyond the scope of this book—which is about design rather than social policy—but I must acknowledge that such mixing rarely happens if governments don’t step in to smooth the way. What’s clear is that fairness demands that cities stop concentrating subsidized housing in poor zones so all residents and their children can enjoy equal access to decent schools and services.


pages: 474 words: 136,787

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley

affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Bonfire of the Vanities, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, feminist movement, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, phenotype, rent control, theory of mind, twin studies, University of East Anglia, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

In a good year for mice, a male can catch so many mice that he can simultaneously give two females the impression that he is a fine male; he can provide each with more mice than he could catch for one in a normal year.36 Nordic forests seem to be full of deceitful adulterers, for a similar habit by a deceptively innocent-looking little bird led to a long-running dispute in the scientific literature of the 1980s. Some male pied flycatchers, in the forests of Scandinavia, manage to be polygamous by holding two territories, each with a female in it, like the owls or like Sherman McCoy in Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, who keeps an expensive wife on Park Avenue and a beautiful mistress in a rent-controlled apartment across town. Two teams of researchers have studied the birds and come to different conclusions about what is going on. The Finns and Swedes say that the mistress is deceived into believing that the male is unmarried. The Norwegians say that, since the wife sometimes visits the mistress’s nest and may try to drive her away, the mistress can be under no illusions. She accepts the fact that her mate may desert her for his wife, but hopes that if things go wrong at the wife’s nest – they often do – he will come back to help her raise her young.


pages: 598 words: 140,612